23 March 2014 19:36

NICOSIA - House Interior Committee members have asked government services for clarification on a number of points before continuing discussion on a bill opening the way for cremation in Cyprus.
The bill has been withdrawn from the committee for the authorities to make some minor adjustments.
Due to discrepancies in the opinions expressed by the various state departments involved, MPs requested that the bill be withdrawn until the agreement on a number of important points was reached.
Disagreements include whether or not only state authorities will be authorised to carry out cremations or whether the private sector could also be allowed to provide the services.
The issue of how long after death a body should be cremated could also not be agreed on, along with how any illegal practices involving any future cremations are handled.
Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou expressed concern that families may decide to cremate a deceased loved one for financial reasons even if the deceased would not have consented to it.
He suggested that a person be cremated only if they gave written consent to do so while still alive.
The Church has since the start of discussions indicated it was not prepared to perform funeral services for the cremated.
Holy Synod representative Archpriest Marios Demetriou last year said that the church remains against cremation not for dogmatic reasons - although Greek Orthodox faithful are as a rule buried - but due to tradition and the psychological relief provided to people visiting the their loved one’s graves.
Many non-Cypriot residents of Cyprus have expressed their support for the creation of a crematorium here. Cremation is a popular practice in many other countries.
Other elements of the newly withdrawn bill, made public earlier this year, include the director of the hospital in which a corpse is left unclaimed for six months being authorised to decide to have the body cremated.


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