Humanitarian issue of missing persons still open, Deputy Government Spokeswoman says

The issue of missing persons is still open due to Turkeys refusal to demonstrate the necessary will and cooperation in order to determine the fate of all missing persons, Deputy Government Spokeswoman Klelia Vasiliou has stressed.

Vasiliou was speaking at a funeral of a Greek Cypriot woman whose name was included until recently in the list of missing persons.

“We do not underestimate the progress achieved so far, but most cases of our missing persons have not yet been investigated. Other 851 compatriots, the majority of those initially registered in the Committee of Missing Persons list, are still considered as missing she added.

In her speech, according to a Presidency announcement, Vassiliou called on the Turkish occupation army to finally allow excavations to be carried out in the so-called military areas without any restrictions as well as researchers to access Turkish army’s archives to obtain information on missing persons.

She also called on Turkey to hand over information about the issue of moving remains from the original burial site to other sites in an attempt to cover up a horrible crime.

Vasiliou stressed that Turkeys responsibilities are huge and that it must respond to the just demand of the international community, such as the UN, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights and demonstrate the necessary will to end the pain of the missing persons’ relatives .

The governement’s first and foremost priority together with the issue of the missing, remains the effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem “which would reunite our divided homeland, end the occupation and open up new prospects for all people in conditions of freedom, security, democracy and prosperity. “

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, most of them combatants but also women, children and elderly people. During the same period and in the early 1960 when intercommunal fighting broke out Turkish Cypriots went missing too.

A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.

The CMP is a tripartite intercommunal investigatory committee comprising a representative of the Greek Cypriot community, a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community, and a Third Member nominated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and appointed by the UN Secretary General.

Source: Cyprus News Agency