The Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain was established in 1975 following the Turkish invasion and continued occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus. The population of over 3,000 in Rizokarpasso has now fallen to under 300 who are still enclaved in Rizokarpasso whilst the homes and properties of those who have died or left are occupied by illegal settlers from Turkey.
Over 50 members attended the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso held at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, North Finchley. They discussed the challenges faced by Cyprus and the specific issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for over 48 years. It was also an opportunity for members to discuss the activities of the Association and priorities for the upcoming year.
The President of the Association, Maria Karaolis, presented the Association’s activities since the last AGM showing that the Association and its members continue to engage in political and philanthropic activities for Cyprus. The Association has actively participated in the National Federation of Cypriots in UK “Hands of Cyprus” campaign; attended the NFC meetings in Parliament; regularly sent letters to Members of Parliament and the media who had tried to promote illegally occupied north Cyprus; participated in Demonstrations outside the Turkish Embassy. In 2022 the Association once again sent each of the 42 enclaved school children a Christmas card and a €50 present. In 2023 the enclaved school children will receive a €100 Christmas present, half of the amount being funded by a donation from Tony Kleanthous Hive Foundation. Donations to charities have been made in memory of members to Cancer Research UK and the Royal Brompton Hospital. The Association has been represented at numerous community and philanthropic events in the UK and also at the World Conference for Overseas Cypriots.
At the AGM Councillor Tony Vouros presented the Auditors Reports for the Association of Rizokarpasso and the Help Rizokarpasso Charity. The members passed a Resolution to invest half the funds of the Help Rizokarpasso Charity, via a Financial Adviser, they felt this was a priority since the value of the Charity Funds was being eroded due to high inflation. The members passed a Resolution to be sent to the UK Prime Minister, President of the USA, President of the European Commission, President of the European Council, President of the European Parliament, UN Secretary General, NATO Secretary General, Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The meeting finished with all the members enjoying souvlakia and catching up with friends; it was an enjoyable opportunity to socialise in good company and remember Rizokarpasso.