Cyprus Mail

Foreign ministry has action plan to break missing person’s deadlock (Updated)

Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou

The foreign ministry has prepared an action plan to try and break the deadlock on the issue of missing persons, some details of which came to light on Tuesday.

The information comes a day after Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou said last year was the worst ever for the location of remains, with only ten being found.

According to CNA, the foreign ministry plans to up international campaigning especially within the EU as part of its action plan to counter both the passage of time and Turkey’s reluctance and refusal to cooperate with the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP)

The content of the plan, which CNA said it had secured, was the result of close collaboration and an exchange of views by the foreign minister with all the state and non-state actors, including the attorney-general.

“All competent bodies have come to the common observation that the lack of progress in identifying the fate of missing persons calls for immediate measures to be taken with a specific timetable for implementation, with the aim of further raising awareness of the international community, curbing Turkish intransigence and better co-ordination of co-services to maximise the effectiveness of their action,” the plan says, according to CNA.

The effectiveness of the measures and actions decided upon would be evaluated at regular intervals so that, where necessary, adjustments are made.
It said the policy measures were mainly aimed at further raising the awareness of the international community and addressing the attitude and approach of Ankara.

The foreign minister, it said, intends to inform parliament about the action plan in the near future, with a view to launching a regular dialogue on the joint effort to put pressure on Turkey by international players such as the EU and the Council of Europe.

Cypriot MEPs will also be roped in to further highlight the issue of missing persons and push the matter at the European Parliament, with the possibility of securing a resolution asking Turkey to carry out specific actions that would produce results. Coordination with the Greek government will also be intensified.

“Also important will be the assistance of the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Cyprus. Embassies will work to further raise awareness of the humanitarian issue of the missing, in the direction of exerting greater pressure on Turkey, as well as financially supporting the efforts of the CMP,” the plan says.

A dedicated research team will be set up to study various archives, and the digitisation process of the information already available will be completed.

“Administrative measures are essential requests for strengthening the relevant services and their cooperation, increasing the number of workshops for excavations, and staffing where necessary,” it said.

Photiou said on Monday: “Time is the greatest enemy in the missing persons issue since the mothers, fathers and siblings pass away without having the opportunity to hold a funeral for their loved ones in accordance with our religious custom,” he said.

He reiterated his call to anyone “who knows, has information, has heard something about mass graves, about the fate of missing persons to come forward.”
The CMP has identified and returned the remains of 927 persons, out of 2,002, within a 13-year period.



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