AKEL on Cyprus Missing Persons Day

27 October 2023, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia

By decision of the House of Representatives, October 29th has been established as Cyprus Missing Persons Day. On the 26 October, in 1974, the last prisoners of the invasion had returned to the Republic. This day marked the end of the tortures endured by dozens of prisoners of war and at the same time the starting point for decades of struggle and expectation for hundreds of families.

Of the 2,002 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons, to date, 1,034 people have been identified through the work of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), while year after year the procedure becomes objectively more difficult. The morphology of the terrain changes, witnesses pass away and even those who are alive find it difficult to provide accurate information.

The difficulties faced by the CMP point to the key as well so that things can move forward quickly. Turkey and the occupying army have all the necessary information concerning both the mass burial sites and the organised movement of remains. If Turkey does not cooperate, the program will become increasingly bogged down.

The European Union has a special role to play in this field in trying to exert the necessary political and diplomatic pressure on Turkey that can lead to information from the drawers of the Turkish Army being handed to the hands of the CMP scientists.

AKEL is also working in this direction in the European Parliament so that the appointment of a special Rapporteur on the issues of the missing persons of Cyprus will have a supporting role in determining their fate.

The State and government must not for one minute ignore the drama of the relatives of the missing persons and its consequences. AKEL will continue to support the efforts to establish the fate of the missing persons and at the same time to support the relatives of the missing persons. That is precisely why we insist that the positive response to our demand for the parents, spouses and widows of the missing persons to be granted care is a minimum obligation of the State.

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