Committee Chairman calls for pressure on Turkey to facilitate CMP work on missing persons

Committee Chairman calls for pressure on Turkey to facilitate CMP work on missing persons

Cyprus Parliament`s Committee on Refugees, Enclaved, Missing and Adversely Affected Persons has called on European Institutions to exert pressure on Turkey to allow the Committee on Missing Persons to complete its task, that is the effective investigation of the fate of the missing persons in Cyprus, after the 1964 inter-communal strife and the 1974 Turkish invasion.

An official press release issued here today, notes that the Committee Chairman Skevi Kokouma met met with a delegation of the European Parliament`s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Koukouma told the EP Committee that the number of effective exumations declined in the last three years mainly due to Turkey`s refusal to cooperate by giving data from military archives and by allowing exhumations in so-called military areas.

There must be pressure on Turkey to provide information with regard the burial sites as well as the sites of missing persons whose remains have been transferred and reburied.

Stressing the importance of the CMP`s work, Koukouma expressed gratitude over the EU`s economic contribution to the CMP as well as the approval of these disbursements by the EP.

She also referred to Cyprus fourth interstate appeal against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights, noting that Ankara is procrastinating and has failed to comply with the ECHR`s May 12 2014 ruling for just justification and compensation to the families of the missing persons in Cyprus.

According to the recent report of the UN Secretary General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus, as at 18 December 2014, the Committee’s bicommunal teams of archaeologists had exhumed the remains of 948 missing persons on both sides of the island and the remains of 564 individuals have been returned to their respective families, including 135 during the reporting period (June-December 2014). The total number of missing persons identified in 2014 now stands at 157, the highest in any given year, it is noted.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.