Cyprus’ Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Gavriella Michaelidou said that the current status quo on the island affects the rights and freedoms of Greek Cypriots.

Speaking on Wednesday during a committee discussing the promotion and protection of human rights at the UN General Assembly, Michaelidou said the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek Cypriots were a result of the 1974 invasion and the continuous presence of Turkey in the north.

She also denounced the illegal exploitation and use of Greek Cypriot properties in the north by Turkey.

“Turkey has pushed thousands of Turkish settlers to Cyprus as part of a methodical and deliberate plan to change the demographic character of the island, in violation of international law,” she said.

She also condemned the looting and vandalism of the rich cultural and archaeological heritage in the north, adding that the whereabouts of many cultural artefacts still remains unknown.

Michaelidou also made reference to the humanitarian issue of the missing persons and called on Turkey to provide information on their fate from its military archives, in order to allow the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) to access areas for excavations and exhumations.

Furthermore, she said that the UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned Turkey’s illegal actions in Varosha and the unilateral decision to reopen it to the public.

“Turkey continues to defy UN resolutions, creating new fait accompli on the ground,” she said.

“Turkey’s policies and provocations undermine the resumption of negotiations and the achievement of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” Michaelidou said.

“The Republic of Cyprus will continue to protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, regardless of their ethnic origin, race, gender, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability.

“It is our hope that this will soon be done in the context of a unified country,” she concluded.