International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination: open letter to UN Security Council

United Nations flag, Nicosia © Lobby for Cyprus

Lobby for Cyprus open letter to the President of the UN Security Council and its five permanent members

Your Excellency

On 21 March, the UN marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. With this is mind, Lobby for Cyprus invites each of the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, to answer five basic questions.

  1. What has the UN Security Council ever done to hold Turkey to account for procuring the ethno-religious cleansing of approximately 170,000 citizens of the Republic of Cyprus from the Turkish-occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus, for subjecting these citizens to discrimination on the basis of their Greek ethnicity or Greek Orthodox Christian faith or both and for stripping these citizens of their dignity?
  2. What has the UN Security Council ever done to facilitate the return of all persons in the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, to the homes from which they were forcibly displaced or deported as a result of the segregationist policies and discriminatory actions of Turkey?
  3. Why has the UN Security Council endorsed a ‘settlement’ based on the proposed transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’, a perverse entity which would not only rest on what the late Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, described as ‘the evil of segregation’, but would inevitably promote supremacism as well as direct or indirect discrimination?
  4. What has the UN Security Council done to name and shame Turkey on account of its conspicuous failure to become a state party to four instruments of international law which prohibit Apartheid namely the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid 1973, Additional Protocol I of 1977 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, the International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports 1985 and the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court of 1998?
  5. What has the UN Security Council done to press Turkey to ratify Protocol No. 12 of 2000 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 (which ‘promote[s] the equality of all persons through the collective enforcement of a general prohibition of discrimination’)?

Lobby for Cyprus looks forward to receiving a response to all of the above questions.

In the meantime, Lobby for Cyprus invites the UN Security Council to put into practice the fine words which the UN has chosen to highlight the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. These fine words include the following:

‘Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And based on Article 2, everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of race or any other kind. …’

As the civilised world prepares to mark the passage of 50 years since the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, on 4 April 1968, Lobby for Cyprus directs to the UN the very same message which Dr King directed at the US in his very last speech which he delivered on the day before he lost his life. The message is so simple yet so important:

‘be true to what you [have] said on paper.’