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Media Watch 2007

15 April 2007
Source: Cyprus News Agency
Author: Konstantina Demetrouli
Comment: The following is a report of the Cyprus News Agency of Nicosia of 15 March 2007.
European Parliament calls for speedy investigation into the fate of missing persons
"The European Parliament adopted Thursday a resolution on missing persons in Cyprus, calling all parties concerned to cooperate sincerely on a speedy completion of the appropriate investigations into the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus after the Turkish military invasion of 1974."

"Strasbourg, Mar 15 (CNA) -- The European Parliament adopted Thursday a resolution on missing persons in Cyprus, calling all parties concerned to cooperate sincerely on a speedy completion of the appropriate investigations into the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus after the Turkish military invasion of 1974.

The European Parliament also calls on the parties concerned and all those who have any information regarding the missing persons to pass it on to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus without any further delay.

It calls on the Council and the Commission to concern themselves actively with this problem, and to take all necessary steps, in cooperation with the United Nations Secretary General, to bring about implementation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the relevant UN and European Parliament resolutions.

The resolution also foresees that the problem is referred to its appropriate committee of the European Parliament with a view to follow-up, in close cooperation with the Commission, and instructs the committee to report to it periodically, the first report to be submitted within six months.

The resolution had the support of all the political groups in the European Parliament and was an initiative of Cypriot MEP Panayiotis Demetriou (EPP-ED/CY).

During his intervention in the plenary Demetriou underlined the importance of looking into the matter from its strictly humanitarian aspect. ''The issue of the missing persons in Cyprus is exclusively a humanitarian one and it needs to be kept away from political tactics''.

''Persons from both the G/C and the T/C communities are still missing and their relatives have the fundamental right to find out what has happened to them'', Demetriou added.

He also expressed his deep appreciation towards the important work the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus has so far conducted as regards the exhumation and identification of remains and stressed the constructive cooperation between its Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot members.

''The Council and the Commission also need to actively involve themselves in providing financial assistance to the CMP and to take all necessary steps, in cooperation with the UN Secretary General, to bring about implementation of the relevant judgement of the ECHR as well as the UN and European Parliament resolutions'', Panayiotis Demetriou concluded.

The resolution was adopted in the light of press information regarding Christakis Georgiou, who was five years old when he disappeared during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and transferred to Turkey.

In May 2001 the ECHR found Ankara guilty of violating the rights of the relatives of missing persons because of its refusal to inform them of their fate, thus violating article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

After the 1974 invasion, 1.493 Greek Cypriots were officially reported as missing to the CMP but following a number of identifications in the past several years that number now stands at 1.468.

The Turkish Cypriot community has declared 502 persons as missing.

Cyprus, which entered the EU in May 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

The full text of the resolution is as follows:

"European Parliament resolution on missing persons in Cyprus

The European Parliament,

-having regard to its resolutions B4-0669, 0679 and 0688/951 on the problem of missing persons in Cyprus,

-having regard to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly on Cyprus and the international initiatives taken to investigate the fate of the missing persons in Cyprus,

-having regard to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 10 May 2001 (Case No 25781/94) concerning missing persons,

-having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the problem of the missing persons (Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Greeks, Turks and others) is exclusively a humanitarian one deriving from the right of the relatives of missing persons to know their fate,

B. whereas the great agony and suffering of the families of the missing persons, who have remained ignorant of their fate for decades, cannot continue any longer, and must finally come to an end,

C. whereas the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus has been reactivated under the aegis of the UN Secretary-General, and progress, albeit slow, has been made with exhumation and identification of remains,

D. whereas the European Parliament applauds the constructive cooperation between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot members of the CMP,

1. Calls on the parties concerned to cooperate sincerely and honestly on a speedy completion of the appropriate investigations into the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus and to implement fully the relevant European Court for Human Rights judgment of May 2001,

2. Calls on the parties concerned and all those who have, or are in a position to have, any information or evidence emanating from personal knowledge, archives, battlefield reports or records of detention places to pass it on to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) without any further delay,

3. Calls on the Council and the Commission to concern themselves actively with this problem, providing inter alia financial assistance to the CMP, and to take all necessary steps, in cooperation with the United Nations Secretary-General, to bring about implementation of the aforesaid judgment of the ECHR and the relevant UN and European Parliament resolutions,

4. Refers the problem to its appropriate committee with a view to follow - up, in close cooperation with the Commission, of developments on this issue, and instructs that committee to report to it periodically, the first report to be submitted within six months,

5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary General and the governments of Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.""