The European Parliament officially endorsed the work done by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, calling on the European Commission to allocate sufficient resources to enable the Committee to fulfil its mandate.

In the last day of the Jun Plenary session, the EP adopted a written declaration, approved yesterday after the initiative of Marina Yiannakoudakis (ECR, UK), Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg Lidia (S&D, Poland), Francoise Grossetete (EPP, France), Charles Tannock (ECR, UK) and Cecilia Wikstrom (ALDE, Sweden). The declaration was signed by 399 MEPs.

In a written declaration, the EP “fully endorses the work of the CMP and recognises its post-conflict role in promoting truth, remembrance and reconciliation in Cyprus“ and “calls on the European Commission to continue to allocate sufficient resources to the CMP to enable it to fulfil its important mandate.“

The EP “calls on the governments of Turkey and Cyprus to continue to support the CMP`s work, to redouble efforts to account for those individuals still listed as missing and to ensure that all information that could facilitate the mission of the CMP is made freely available to it“.

Furthermore, the declaration instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States and the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.

Commenting on the declaration Cypriot MEP and EPP group Vice Chairman Ioannis Kasoulides said “the text seals the positive resolution of the European Parliament on Missing Persons of 2007 and 2008 and supports the unobstructed financial support of the EU to the CMP, which amounts to 7.5 million euro in the last four years.“

As a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, 1619 Greek-Cypriots were listed as missing, most of whom soldiers or reservists, who were captured in the battlefield.

Among them, however, were many civilians, women and children, arrested by the Turkish invasion troops and Turkish-Cypriot paramilitary groups, within the area controlled by the Turkish army after the end of hostilities and far away from the battlefield. Many of those missing were last seen alive in the hands of the Turkish military. A further 41 more cases of Greek Cypriot missing persons have been recently added. These cases concern the period between 1963-1964, when inter-communal fighting broke out but none of them has been identified yet.

The number of Turkish Cypriot missing since 1974 and 1963/64 stands at 503.

According to figures released, 270 families from both communities have been notified about the discovery and identification of the remains of their loved ones. By early November 2010, a total of 263 remains, 209 belonging to Greek Cypriots and 54 to Turkish Cypriots have been unearthed and identified since 2007.

In his latest report on the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus, the UN Secretary General reported that “complete access to military areas in the north for the purposes of exhumations remains crucial. I urge the Turkish Forces to adopt a more forthcoming approach, given the humanitarian dimension of the issue“.

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