UK supports Cyprus’ efforts to solve the issue of missing persons, High Commissioner says

British High Commissioner in Nicosia, Stephen Lillie has expressed his countrys support to the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus to solve the humanitarian problem of the missing persons.

Lillie, who held a meeting on Tuesday with Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou, noted the importance the United Kingdom attaches to the respect for human rights and also assured that every effort will be made to solve the outstanding problems as regards the issue of the enclaved persons, living in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.

According to a press release by the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus, the Commissioner pointed out that without the substantial cooperation and contribution of the Turkish occupation force, the humanitarian issue of the missing persons can not be resolved and asked for the British governments assistance in order to exert pressure on Turkey to open its archives and thus contribute constructively to the solution of this humanitarian problem.

Photiou told the British High Commissioner that the dramatic drop in the number of remains of Greek Cypriot missing persons that are found in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus -due to the lack of willingness from Turkey to cooperate – is of great concern to the government of Cyprus.

The Presidential Commissioner referred to the human rights violations in the Turkish occupied areas, particularly to the problems at the Rizokarpaso school with regard to teachers and the prohibition -on behalf of the regime in the occupied areas – of specific books.

Photiou stressed that the full restoration and respect for human rights in Cyprus is a prerequisite for achieving a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that will reunite the country and give an end to the Turkish occupation.

During the meeting, Photiou briefed the High Commissioner on diaspora issues and emphasised on the importance of implementing actions in the United Kingdom, where there is a great number of Cypriots of the diaspora. They also had the opportunity to discuss about citizens rights, particularly with regard to the impact on people of the diaspora in the United Kingdom, in view of Brexit.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown. 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.

Since 1974 Turkey occupies 36,2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic. It forcibly expelled about 180.000 Greek Cypriots from their homes, while another 20.000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites remain in the occupied areas.

Source: Cyprus News Agency