Cyprus Mail

Help promised to families of missing persons

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Lawmakers on Tuesday pledged to assist the families of missing persons from the 1974 conflict who have complained that the state has all but forgotten them.

Mothers and children of missing persons told the House refugees committee how for 48 years they have been knocking on doors seeking special assistance, only to be turned away.

According to one woman speaking in parliament, a functionary at a government department once told her: “Are you still harping on about this missing persons thing?”

Another woman, who at the time of the Turkish invasion was one-and-a-half years old, said her mother subsequently suffered from psychological problems, not being able to come to terms with the fact her husband – who had gone off to fight – was gone.

Following the accounts by relatives, MPs said they proposed the government devise a statutory welfare benefit for first-degree relatives of missing persons.

As things stand, families of missing persons do not receive a dedicated welfare benefit. MPs want to change that.

Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues Fotis Fotiou undertook to study the idea and to come back with a concrete proposal at a future committee session.

“No doubt the relatives of missing persons, and especially their parents, are testament to these people’s drama. To this day, every home of a missing person carries its own cross, and the moral obligation to support these families will never go away,” Disy MP Nikos Georgiou said after the meeting.

The island’s missing persons totaled 1,619 after the invasion. The number included around 800 civilians, 30 children and 116 women. The remainder were conscripts, reservists and soldiers.

According to information released in July this year by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), around 735 cases of Greek Cypriots have been identified.


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