Statement by Aristofanis Georgiou lawyer and former AKEL MP:
Many displaced people face the spectre of bankruptcy
Sunday 7 May 2023, “HARAVGI” newspaper
The state must provide incentives to discourage displaced persons from appealing to the “immovable property commission” in the occupied areas for the sale of property by refugees, says Aristofanis Georgiou, lawyer and former AKEL MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Refugees.
One such incentive could be the development of a project under the auspices of the state, through the Central Body of Equal Distribution of Burdens. In cases where the property acquired by the displaced persons to live and house their families would be at risk, there should be some contribution from the State through the body to prevent the sale or forced sale of property. This proposal, he said, was also tabled when he chaired the Parliamentary Committee. Thus, he added, Cypriot citizens would not entertain the thought of selling their property in the occupied territories.
A.Georgiou also pointed that the properties compensated by the Committee in the occupied areas were worth up to 13% of their value.
Asked to comment on what has been reported in recent days about the purchase of hotels by a Turkish Cypriot businessman in the enclosed city in the occupied areas, A.Georgiou said that it would be a mistake through a purported private transaction for us to decide and put a tombstone on the Varosha issue. Furthermore, he stressed that the policy of a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem and the implementation of the resolutions and decisions of the United Nations on Varosha must be pursued with consistency.
In response to the point that the competent authorities state that the sale of property in the occupied territories is prohibited, while on the other hand they say that the management of property is an individual right, Aristofanis Georgiou said that the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Cyprus do not prohibit sales either in the free areas or in the occupied territories.
As to whether it was ethical to sell one’s property in the occupied territories, the former AKEL MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Refugees said that positions had been developed from time to time, but the reality was that many displaced persons found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy or selling their homes or being left destitute without any protection whatsoever from the State and government.