Cyprus ombudsman supports expat complaints over burials

Published:  22 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, Cyprus
Following reports in local and online media that expats living in Cyprus were still waiting for their own cemetery and crematorium, the island’s ombudsman has called for an end to discriminatory burial practices.

Recently, media articles have highlighted long, inexplicable delays in the agreed provision of a cemetery and crematorium for the Cyprus expat community. Also mentioned was expat anger at existing cemeteries’ practices of denying non-Cypriots access as well as charging those lucky enough to be able to obtain plots double the amount charged to Cypriot citizens.

A number of expats living in Paphos district had submitted formal complaints to the Cypriot authorities, possibly without much expectation of results. However, the island’s ombudsman Eliza Savvidou has taken up their cause, calling for an end to discriminatory practices involving the disallowing of burials for deceased residents not part of the Greek Orthodiox religion.

Savvidou’s report stated that deceased residents of different religious backgrounds must be allowed burial in local cemeteries, albeit within a separate section of the graveyard. She noted that a number of British complainants in Tala had been told the local graveyard was full and that they must use another, separate burial ground in the vicinity.

Many more complaints from expats living in Peyia highlighted the common practice of charging both Britons and members of other expat communities twice as much as locals paid to have their loved ones buried in a village cemetery. Savvidou’s response was to instruct Tala authorities to allow non-Cypriot burials in the local graveyard, adding that Peyia village’s practice of overcharging must stop.

In her report, the ombudsman called for local government regulation of issues concerning cemetery regulations and burials. Non-Cypriot residents, she said, must not experience discrimination and less favourable treatment either indirectly or directly. Cyprus, she said, is a multicultural and multinational country, adding the state itself should re-examine immigrant integration issues in all aspects of expat lives as regards human rights and discrimination.
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