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Religious freedom in Cyprus

Letter by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II, concerning freedom of religion and belief in the northern, occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus.

28 January 2011

Geneva, 28 January 2011

Your Beatitude,

Following your letter on the deplorable events that took place on Christmas day in Rizokarpaso, I have attached the letter sent by the World Council of Churches to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanethem Pillay and to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Mr Heiner Bielefeldt.

We strongly denounce these actions as we believe that they constitute a flagrant violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights, mainly the right to freedom of religion and belief as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in many other International human rights instruments. The World Council of Churches will never cease to defend religious freedom and stand by those victims who are being persecuted for reasons of their religious beliefs. We believe that, as the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Olav Tveit
General secretary
World Council of Churches