Cyprus Mail

Greek woman renouncing Cypriot citizenship over abuse of disabled parking spaces (Updated)

A Greek resident has applied to renounce her Cypriot citizenship after becoming infuriated over the government’s failure to apply the law protecting the rights of people with disabilities, it emerged on Tuesday.

She specifically referred to people ignoring the fact that one of the spaces at her apartment block was for use by the disabled. Demetris Lambrianides, the head of the paraplegic association posted a letter by the woman on social media where she sets out the reasons for her decision.

“I renounce Cypriot citizenship because of the government’s inability to sufficiently implement the legislation concerning disabled parking spots and the right of people with disabilities to visit apartment buildings,” the letter accompanying her application said.

According to the woman, who of Greek origin but is married a Cypriot and who has been living in the capital for more than ten years, she recently applied to renounce her Cypriot citizenship due to the misuse of the disabled parking spot in her apartment building.

In her letter, she spoke of the government’s inability to tackle illegal parking in disabled spots and said she felt the need to take on this responsibility herself.

Cyprus Mail contacted the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, and she revealed that she reported the matter to a number of authorities such as police, justice ministry, the president of the parliament and her local municipality. However, they told her that since the parking spot belongs to a private building, they were not allowed to intervene.  “I also contacted the human rights commissioner who assured me they would attempt to settle the issue,” she said.

“As a result of government’s inability to monitor the issue, my husband and I were forced five years ago, when the town planning department came to check the buildings, to ask them to put a sign on the disabled parking slot and insist it not be taken away by the building’s manager and the committee because they said there were no disabled people in our building,” said the woman who also suffers from cancer and resulting disabilities.

The parking spot was allegedly used by a male resident who imports and sells used cars. The slot was continuously occupied by cars with foreign licence plates with the consent from the management committee of the building, she said.

“Where is the government?” the woman asks in her letter. “It is absurd not to check that laws are being applied. The law suggests that apartment buildings or complexes with more than seven flats must have a common disabled spot. But no further checks are taking place by the authorities for illegal parking on that slot”

She added she had also been the victim of a racist attack and had reported it to the police.

“On October 3, I was the victim of hate speech against Greek people. Insults were directed at me and my mother who has been dead for 20 years because people did not want me to watch them as they drove out of the disabled parking slot,” she said.

Demetris Lambrianides posted the woman’s letter on his Facebook account on Tuesday morning, with the description: “While some pay five million for Cypriot citizenship, others pay to repudiate it!”.

Lambrianides continued: “Unfortunately the state is disabled when it comes to some matters and prolongs dealing with the issue. It is an embarrassment for our country. We are waiting for the interior ministry and MPs to take immediate measures.”

According to the civil registry and migration department’s website, an application for renunciation of Cypriot citizenship can be submitted provided that the Cypriot citizen is over 18, compos mentis and has citizenship from another country.


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