Elena Milioti has become the first Cypriot citizen to remove her religious creed from state records. She disputed that this information was far too personal to be found on the state record and had it removed after a rigorous procedure.
Upon her request’s success in June, the Civil Registry Department of Cyprus had revised her record in reference to her religious creed and modified it from ‘Cristian Orthodox’ to ‘unspecified’.
Milioti’s reasoning behind her stance was based on the General Data Protection Regulation, applying to people in the European Union and the European Economic Area, which states that data collected on people should become anonymous, and also that public information should be consented upon before processed. These factors helped her case immensely.
Milioti originally took her quarrel to the church, which informed her that she would have to first be excommunicated before she could stop being referred to as Christian. The woman had no intention of creating problems with the church, and realised that the real issue was with the state, not the church.
“I fully respect the beliefs of all people and, regardless whether I myself believe or not, I think that the state has no justification to know, and to hold records, about a citizen’s convictions,” she told Politis newspaper.
Milioti next went on to the Nicosia District Office. While she says she found the help and understanding she needed, when asked for an affidavit, she refused, highlighting that this would defeat the whole purpose of her request.
“Even atheism is a creed, in a sense. What I wanted is for any reference to my religion to be deleted. The fact I applied for the deletion of my religious creed is irrespective of whether I believe or not,” she explained.
Milioti’s request was accepted by the District Office and an application was sent to the state, mentioning that she refused to provide an affidavit and in the end, had her request approved.
News of the case has seen a large number of people submitting applications.