Greeks in north Cyprus badly treated, U.N. says

Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95

NICOSIA (Reuter) - The United Nations has criticized the Turkish Cypriot sector in Cyprus for violating the rights of the Greek Cypriot community there, a minority in the enclave since the Turkish occupation of 1974.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, a report by the UNFICYP peacekeeping force on the island shows that Greek Cypriots in the north are deprived of the freedom of movement, education and health care and live in fear of local police. ``Much of the time they live in trepidation and even fear, due to the constant Turkish Cypriot police presence in their lives,'' said the report quoted by the semi-government owned agency.

Twenty thousand Greek Cypriots remained in the northern part of the island after Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third of the Mediterranean island. By last March 31, the day the report was completed, this figure had dwindled to 519. The average age is 66. The report, according to the news agency, says the Turkish Cypriot administration has not kept its commitment, as defined in high-level agreements between the two sides, that the Greek Cypriots there lead a ``normal life.'' Far from being normal, the life for those who have remained in the Turkish-held areas is ``highly abnormal,'' the agency says, quoting the report.

The absence of secondary schools forces parents to make the ``agonizing'' choice of either sending their children to the south, or of depriving them of their education in order to keep the family together, the news agency quoted the report as saying.

Yiannakis Cassoulides, spokesman for the Cypriot government, would not comment on the report. A spokesman for UNIFCYP also refused to comment.