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Media Watch 2004

25 June 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Alex Efthyvoulos
Comment: The following leader article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 25 June 2004.
Refugee developments underline Annan Plan's grave flaws
"The second is that the introduction of such illegal settlers by an occupying power in a state under its military control amounts to a violation of the Geneva Convention, and as such is a war crime that should never be condoned, never mind, rewarded!"

THREE separate developments in three different countries, in Europe and the United States in recent days, dealing with illegal immigration and the enforced transfer of populations highlight the grave flaws of the Annan Plan in dealing with such issues in Cyprus.

The first of these developments was the 'yes’ vote by the people of Ireland in a referendum on citizenship that denied the granting of automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born in the country.

The vote followed a vigorous debate about race and identity in Ireland, indicating that immigration and race are among the most contentious international issues.

This view is backed by a similar decision in the United States, where the California courts rejected the appeal of a Mexican illegal immigrant couple to be allowed to remain in the country because their children, aged 13 and 10 years old, were born there. The couple argued that they should be allowed to stay with their children, who gained US citizenship automatically by being born in the country.

An Associated Press report said that researchers at the Washington-based Urban Institute estimate there are 3 million children with US citizenship born to illegal immigrants.

Forced to leave the country
Many of these children are forced to leave the country along with their parents as a result of federal enforcement efforts which result in roughly 15,000 deportations of illegal immigrants each month.

US officials admit that the deportations are causing humanitarian problems but they stress that the law must be strictly applied and that the illegal immigrants knew all along that they were breaking the law.

Immigration-rights advocates say countless other families among the estimated nine million illegal immigrants in the United States live in an apprehensive limbo fearing that their status may be uncovered any moment resulting in their deportation.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform has asked Congress to consider changing the long-standing practice of automatically granting citizenship to any children born on US soil.

Despite the firm stand taken by US authorities and the deportation of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants every year, together with their teenage children, the Annan Plan which is strongly backed by the US government, insists that the more than 100,000 illegal settlers from Turkey introduced to the occupied north in the wake of the 1974 invasion, must be allowed to stay for "humanitarian reasons." If anything, the expulsion of the Turkish settlers from the occupied north ought to be even more forcefully demanded by the UN Secretary-General and those major powers backing his plan, for two unshakeable reasons.

Deliberate ploy by Turkey
- The first is that their settlement in the occupied north in numbers that the Turkish Cypriots themselves admit exceeds their own population is part of a deliberate plan by Turkey to change the demographic character of Cyprus.

-- The second is that the introduction of such illegal settlers by an occupying power in a state under its military control amounts to a violation of the Geneva Convention, and as such is a war crime that should never be condoned, never mind, rewarded!

The third development in recent days that stresses the glaring flaws, not to say illegalities, of the Annan plan, is the decision of the representatives of tens of thousands of Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia at the end of Word War II to apply to the European Court of Human Rights seeking both compensation and the right to return to their homes, even though they were forced to leave 60 years ago!

In the case of Cyprus the Annan Plan goes as far as to deny the right of any of the Greek Cypriot refugees to apply to the Rights Court and to seek compensation and the right to return to their properties in the Turkish-occupied north, even though the ethnic-cleansing operation conducted by Turkey is a gross violation of international law, something already determined by the European Court of Human Rights, which has recognised the right of the refugees to return and to be compensated.

It is truly flabbergasting how those backing the Annan Plan insist on its implementation, without even the necessary basic amendments dealing with the illegal mainland settlers, in view of the policies adopted in similar, albeit vastly milder cases such as the ones mentioned above in the case or Ireland and the United States."