Several days ago, on 29th October we honored Missing Persons Day. However, one cannot express in one day the torment of the Cypriot people which for so many years has been waiting to learn the truth about their beloved ones. That is why the struggle that we are waging for our missing persons is a daily struggle and that is how it will continue to be until the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, is verified because this is the inalienable right of the relatives. This is our debt to our missing people and towards our country’s history too.
In the last plenary of the European Parliament we succeeded in a proposal being approved that provided for an increase of 3,000,000 Euros in the funds to be given to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) from the Community budget of 2017. This proposal was included in the final budget, following an amendment tabled by Cypriot MEP’s in both the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee of the European Parliament. The recognition of the need to support the role of the CMP is considered very important in order to enable it to continue its work unhindered and to further expand its activities. However, there is a lot more that must be done.
A key objective we have set is for pressure to be put on Turkey so that it gives all the information concerning our missing persons, but also to accelerate the procedures that are demanded for permission to be given to the CMP to conduct exhumations in military zones in the occupied territories. To achieve this goal the EU has to play a very important role. We are therefore seeking in every way to further promote the issue of the missing persons in the European Parliament so that the MEP’s are informed that this is a serious humanitarian issue, but that they also understand the support that the EU can and indeed must provide.
Besides the financial support of the CMP program, equally urgent is the need for the European Parliament to appoint a responsible Rapporteur, as is the case on all important issues, who will have the responsibility of monitoring the issue of the missing persons. Thus we will succeed in the European Parliament closely monitoring Turkey’s stance on the issue. Together with AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, who as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees, Enclave People (in the occupied areas), Missing Persons and War-stricken People, follows the issue of missing persons, we recently had a meeting with the President of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament Moraes Claude. We discussed the need to appoint immediately a responsible official for the issue of the missing persons.
The Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left is a strong ally in the struggle that we waging, which is ready to continue the struggle by ensuring that the EU will continue to support all our efforts to verify the fate of our missing persons.
However, the real vindication for our missing persons, as for all the victims of 1974, will be the solution of the Cyprus problem itself. The real vindication would be the termination of the occupation, as well as the demilitarization and reunification of Cyprus and our people.
Article by Neoklis Sylikiotis, AKEL Political Bureau member, AKEL MEP and GUE/NGL Vice-President

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