P r o c l a m a t i o n

Whereas, the Republic of Cyprus remains one of the last major unresolved areas of foreign occupation in Europe; beginning on July 20, 1974, events unfolded that were profoundly tragic for the people of the Republic of Cyprus when their island was invaded by Turkish armed forces, documented as one of the most appalling military invasions of the 20th century; and

Whereas, this act of aggression and the subsequent colonization by Turks resulted in the loss of 37 percent of the Cypriot ancestral land, the expulsion of 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their northern homes, the destruction of historical monuments and places of worship, which stand as testaments to the 10,000 year old Cypriot Civilization; moreover, nearly 1,500 Greek Cypriots disappeared and hundreds of others were relegated to enclaves where they continue to endure discrimination and other hardships; and

Whereas, after more than a quarter of a century, the time has come for a solution to the problem in the Republic of Cyprus based on all the relevant resolutions adopted by the United Nations; the sense of injustice in this matter has continuously drawn the attention of the world-wide community; a landmark decision made on May 10, 2001 by the European Court of Human Rights, stated that fourteen violations of human rights had been perpetrated by Turkey in Cyprus; in addition, on June 11, 2001, the UN Security Council reiterated the parameters of a settlement based on UNSC Resolution 1251 which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the island, the return of the refugees to their homes, respect for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and the unity of the Republic of Cyprus; and

Whereas, the legacy of liberty that inspired America's founders continues to forge a bond of goodwill and friendship between our citizens and to guide our State, Nation and the course of Western civilization; in light of its recognition by the international community and current status as a leading candidate for membership in the European Union, Greek Cypriot-Americans have greater hopes for the emergence of a more just and humane future and the prevalence of the rule of law in the Republic of Cyprus; and

Whereas, our State is fortunate to be home to one of the Nation's largest population of Greek-Americans who trace their roots to Cyprus, a beautiful island nation rich in history, tradition and culture that has endured the burden of a hostile occupation for the past 28 years; it is fitting to recognize the noble cause of the Cypriot and Greek-American communities in their collective call for peace, justice and a return to the Republic's former glory and grandeur;

Now, Therefore, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim July 20, 2002 as

Justice for Cyprus Day

in the Empire State.

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