Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Gesy has highlighted the unfair treatment of British Cypriots 

I am one of many British citizens, born from Cypriot ancestors, who are facing problems here in Cyprus. I am considered a Cypriot as I have Cypriot ancestors, but I am NOT a Cypriot citizen.

I have an old ID card, but under ‘nationality’ it was written British. This ID card is no longer valid, as the laws have changed. In order for me to have an ID card, I need to become an official Cypriot citizen.

I have MS, and I have a hospital card which entitles me to my medication and other medical care for free. Cyprus has now started Gesy, but to be able to join and continue to be seen at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology, you have to have a valid Cypriot ID card or an immigration paper MEU1 or MEU3.

To obtain Cypriot citizenship I must provide certain documents, one of which is my British original birth certificate. The Cypriot authorities will keep my birth certificate and will issue me with a Cypriot one. My British friend, like me with Cypriot parents, applied for Cypriot citizenship, was sent a Cypriot birth certificate and was informed that her original British one will NOT be returned to her as another Cypriot one has been issued. We pay for our British birth certificate, and it is ours. I got a certified copy of my birth certificate, one signed by the mukhtar but this was not accepted. As per the new law Regulation 2016 it should have been accepted.

Is this legal? Under a new law a few years ago we are entitled to dual nationality, but in the UK your original birth certificate from Cyprus is not taken away from you.

The other documents required for citizenship are parents’ marriage certificate and copies of their passports and ID or other proof of their citizenship.

The problem with all this required information for me is that my parents are divorced and my mother passed away, so I do not have any of this information but I am required to produce it.

I tried going to immigration to go through the route of other British citizens to get either a MEU1 or MEU3 residence permit, or ‘yellow slip’. Nothing in writing of course, but I was informed that I was not entitled to either of them as I am of Cypriot ancestors and I must obtain a Cypriot ID through citizenship.

I cannot get Cypriot citizenship as I do not have the required documents, I cannot get a yellow slip as apparently I am Cypriot. What do I do? I am Cypriot, but I am not Cypriot. I do not have the rights of a Cypriot citizen and I do not have the rights of a British citizen. This is unacceptable, it is discrimination, against my human rights and basically bullying!

The UK is still currently in Europe, and we are entitled to health care, it is also our basic human rights as a European. On this journey I have encountered so many people struggling with these changes and Cypriot laws. British people living here, many for years, and now struggling to get basic health care. Is this situation within our human rights?

My husband is also facing these problems. His father is Cypriot but they moved back to the UK years ago and we do not have any contact with them, and so no marriage certificate etc. The worst thing is that he did the army when he came to Cyprus after finishing school in the UK and working there. He had to do the army as he is Cypriot. He can do the army, fight for this country and even die if needed, but he is not a Cypriot citizen! This should have been done automatically when he joined the Cyprus army, and it should be free.

It is amazing how foreign people, e.g. Russians who buy a property can automatically be Cypriot citizens, but they do not have the problems we face.

We Cypriots born abroad are treated very unfairly. We are Cypriot when it suits this country. To go to the army, to pay taxes and bills our IDs are good. Gesy is taking money from salaries, but we cannot join Gesy.

Helen Georgiou

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