Cyprus marks Missing Persons Day as President pledges to continue efforts to determine their fate, CNA - CYPRUS/Nicosia 29/10/2019
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades vowed to continue the struggle to determine the fate of missing persons in Cyprus for “as long as it takes.” The pledge, posted on his personal twitter account, comes as Cyprus marks Missing Persons Day.
“We remember and honor our beloved ones. With responsibility and faith, we stand next to the families of our missing persons and promise to continue the struggle to determine the fate of every one them, for as long as it takes” the President noted.
On Tuesday the Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Leonidas Pantelides addressed the House Committee on Refugees, referring to the difficulties the CMP is facing while carrying out its task.
Out of 30 permits given at the end of June to conduct excavations in “military zones” in the northern, Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, only one visit was made possible in the fenced-off part of Famagusta, just last week, the Greek Cypriot member said. “We don’t give up” Pantelides told the House Committee, on the occasion of the Day for Missing Persons.
He also noted that this year, 24 human remains have been discovered and await their identification. In total, 695 Greek Cypriot meissing persons have been identified, but the remains found correspond to a total of 1,000 people. At the same time, 265 Turkish Cypriot missing persons have been identified, he added.
House President Demetris Syllouris also attended the beginning of the session, and said Turkey increasing its propaganda over this humanitarian issue.
From his part, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said that relatives of missing persons die without having the chance to bury their beloved ones properly and noted that these people should be treated with respect.
He assured that the Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Minister and the President of Cyprus exert every effort on the issue of missing persons, bringing the subject up during meetings with foreign leaders, while the President discusses the subject first when meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
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.