The Labour Ministry must stop bargaining the pain of the 1974 war disabled people
Statement by AKEL MP Nikos Kettirou after the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees, Enclaved people in the occupied areas, Missing Persons and war-stricken people
5th October 2021, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
We hosted the President and members of the Pancyprian Association of Refugees (PAR) at the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees, Enclaved people in the occupied areas, Missing Persons and war-stricken people. Our Committee works closely with PAR as together we discuss and highlight the problems our displaced persons face.
Today, we exchanged views on the serious issues facing our 1974 war refugee population with the delays observed in the reconstruction plans, the gap in the compensation plan for the loss of use of properties and the need to modernize the legislation regarding the management of Turkish Cypriot properties so that transparency is ensured in their allocation.
We have set specific goals for meetings and interventions that we shall have and we will come back to. The main thing is the willingness of both our Committee and the PAR to establish even closer and joint contacts with the refugees.
We also discussed the problems faced by the war-stricken people, pointing out once again the absence of the necessary sensitivity from the state towards people who gave their all to defend our homeland. Problems such as medical councils with manifestly unfair decisions, delays noted in setting up medical councils and an unprecedented bargaining by the Ministry of Labour on the need to increase the relevant allowance.
More specifically, during a previous meeting of the Committee it was noted that the needs of these people have increased and precisely for this reason it urged the Ministry to look into increasing the allowance provided by 22%. The Ministry of Labour, instead of assessing the needs and responding positively or negatively or, in any case, proposing another percentage, considered that the best response was to reply to the war-stricken people’s organisation that the amount was particularly high and that it should come back with a counter-proposal – as if there was any room for bargaining between the state and the problems faced by the disabled of the 1974 war and the anti-fascist resistance. The Committee gave the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Finance 15 days to come to an understanding and return to the Committee with specific proposals and answers.
Finally, we discussed with the relevant officials the problems enclaved people in the occupied areas face. Several of the issues raised at previous Commission meetings appear to be on the way of being resolved. However, there remain pending issues that are urgent and have been pending for years, such as the responsibility of the Government to create an effective mechanism for the allocation of the compensation of the enclaved persons and relatives of missing persons by Turkey.
We have been informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing a Bill which we have requested that it be tabled in Parliament by the end of the year. We consider unacceptable the delay in the preparation of the Bill, which gives Turkey an alibi to evade the essence of the issue, which is its obligation to pay compensation.