Concerns relating to the humanitarian issue of missing persons was the focus of a meeting between Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou and UK High Commissioner Matthew Kidd, on Monday, during which Photiou asked for help in order to exert pressure on Turkey to contribute to its resolution.
Photiou, an official press release says, noted that it is “unacceptable and inhumane for the families of missing persons to wait for decades to find out what has happened to their loved ones or to receive one bone out of their remains and to be asked to consider that this constitutes full information of what has become of them.”
The two men also discussed matters relatiang to the enclaved (Greek Cypriots living in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus).
On his part, the press release concludes, Kidd assured that his country will continue to contribute to the ongoing efforts to resolve the tragic problem of missing persons.
Hundreds of people from the island`s two communities have been listed as missing. Most Greek Cypriot have been missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriot missing hail from 1974 as well as inter-communal fighting in the early 1960s.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN brokered talks resumed in May 2015 aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.
A Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) was established in April 1981 by agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities under the auspices of the United Nations.
In 2006, the climate was ripe for the CMP to begin excavations and exhumations on both sides of the island. In order to provide the required expertise, archaeologists and anthropologists from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) were brought in to coordinate and train a bi-communal team of Cypriot scientists involved in exhumations and anthropological analysis. An anthropological laboratory was set-up in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia, according to the CMP website.
Since 2008, the CMP’s bi-communal forensic team has been carrying out exhumations autonomously (up to 8 teams in the northern part of the island and 2 teams in the southern part). EAAF forensic experts continue to be involved in the project for quality control purposes.
So far, out of the 1508 Greek Cypriots missing, 499 individuals have been identified and returned to their families for proper burial. As far as the Turkish Cypriots are concerned, out of 493 listed as missing, 181 persons have been identified and returned to their next of kin.