Presidential Commissioner: We are working for 43 years now to ascertain the fate of the missing persons of Cyprus

For 43 years we are working to create the conditions to reunite the island, secure the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and to ascertain the fate of the missing persons, Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Affairs Fotis Fotiou has said.

Speaking at a memorial service Sunday morning at the Greek island of Rodos for the missing persons of Cyprus, the Cypriot Presidential Commissioner assured that the efforts underway by President Nicos Anastasiades aim at securing the cooperation of all forces on the island and for the leadership and the people to continue united for a settlement.

Through the dialogue that is being held, he said, we are pursuing the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus to a state with a new federal structure that will continue to be a member of the UN and the EU, a state with two districts whereby implementing the principle of political equality, as defined by UN resolutions, each community will have the first say in its area.

Fotiou said this will depend on the strict and complete protection of human rights and the implementation of the acquis communautaire for all citizens, irrespective of where they live and excluding the possibility of return to conflicts of the past.

He conveyed President Nicos Anastasiades’ assurance that we will continue to seek a free Cyprus and create the conditions that will allow us to achieve this, like we did in the past.

In a gathering at Rodos on Saturday to honour the four missing that have links to the island, Fotiou said the missing persons’ drama is the most tragic and painful aspect of the Cyprus problem.

It is a great shame for the international community and for mankind, after 43 years, to be still searching for the two-thirds of the missing persons of the Turkish invasion, and completely inhuman and unwise to deliver to the relatives of the missing merely small bones.

As he said, Turkey continues to refuse to cooperate to resolve the humanitarian issue despite the decisions the European Court of Human Rights where it was found guilty of this crime.

Army records in Turkey, the Commissioner noted, contain information about mass burial sites of the Greek Cypriot missing. Women and children were murdered during the invasion and were thrown into wells but were moved between 1992-93 to conceal the horror they brought to Cyprus. Since then we have been searching for the remains that were moved but usually, in vain,” he added. The ECHR, he said, has called for the full ascertainment of the fate of every missing person.

Despite the fact that we are not satisfied with the pace of the investigations of the committee on Missing Persons, we will continue to support the CMP’s work to end the long-term drama of the relatives of the missing and to ascertain the fate of those lost during time of war.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots went missing during the invasion.

The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) is a bi-communal body established in 1981.

Following the establishment of an agreed list of missing persons, the CMP’s objective is to recover, identify, and return to their families, the remains of 2000 persons (492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,508 Greek Cypriots) who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963 to 1964 and the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Source: Cyprus News Agency