December 16, 2017

Statement by Ambassador Andreas D. Mavroyiannis – January 22, 2015

69th Session of the General Assembly

Informal Meeting on the Concerns of a Rise in Anti-Semitic Violence Worldwide

Mr. Chairman,

The Republic of Cyprus aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and would like to make some additional remarks in its national capacity.  We would like, in our turn, to thank the President of the General Assembly for acceding to the EU request to hold a special meeting on the issue of the rise in anti-Semitic violence worldwide.  The need for such a meeting is today more opportune than ever.

Sadly, the recent horrific attacks in Paris against the journalists of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against individuals of Jewish faith in a Kosher supermarket are just the tip of the iceberg of the alarming increase in the number of religious intolerance and violence worldwide.  Cyprus stands shoulder to shoulder with France and unequivocally condemns the terrorist attacks that occurred two weeks ago in Paris, as well as all recent similar acts, such as the killings in a  Jewish Museum in Belgium and in a Jewish school in southwestern France, and acts against the Jewish community in Turkey, to name only a few.

Mr. Chairman,

Cyprus, as part of a region that has been the birthplace of the three large monotheist religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – has been a cross roads for each and has accepted on its land every individual regardless of their ethnicity, religion or belief.  Religion constitutes also a means of promoting rapprochement and peace in Cyprus, despite attempts in the past to create divisions among our people on the basis of religion.

It is, therefore, of no surprise that the Republic of Cyprus has always been, and will continue to remain deeply committed to the fight against any form of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and related intolerance – including anti-Semitism through legislation, training and targeted policies.

Mr. Chairman,

Unfortunately, today, the message of peace emanating from all religions is distorted so as to perpetrate heinous, illegal acts of violence and terror, which have no specific boundaries or geographical limitations.  The omnipresent global danger highlighted by the recent Paris tragedy should not be underestimated.

Antisemitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of harassment and religious intolerance in general. We must urgently find ways of tackling effectively this scourge.

Cyprus is deeply saddened, outraged, and extremely concerned with this rise of violence against the Jewish community, as well as against the Muslim community as witnessed by the recent, so-called “retaliation” acts of violence against mosques, following the recent terrorist attacks.  Cyprus condemns attacks against peaceful faiths and reiterates its strong commitment to fight against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and all acts of violence against individuals from a specific religious or ethnic community on its territory, in the European Union, and more generally throughout the international community.

Mr. Chairman,

It is my country’s firm belief that the international community must show a united front in addressing the fight against anti-Semitism and more generally against all acts of violence and hatred committed against any kind of religion or belief, race, or ethnicity.  It is essential that the United Nations, which is the privileged forum for a global response to this global threat makes this fight of its utmost priorities. The global community should deal with this issue with determination and perseverance but without stigmatizing any community.

I thank you for your attention.