Cyprus Mail

Missing persons’ committee is ‘not under a funding threat’

CMP officials searching for the remains of the Missing (CNA)

The Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) operations are not under threat, the organisation announced on Tuesday, a week after reports came out that funding from one of their donor countries would be cut.

Last week, it emerged during a House refugee committee meeting attended by the Greek Cypriot member of CMP Leonidas Pantelides, that funding from Germany had been withdrawn and that other countries were also thinking of removing their funding.

With their latest data updated on June 30 on those listed as missing since the intercommunal troubles in the 1960s and the Turkish invasion, the CMP says that out of 1,510 missing Greek Cypriots 741 have been identified, while 769 are stilling missing. Out of 492 reported missing Turkish Cypriots, 292 have been identified, while another 200 remain missing.

He expressed hope, however, that these funding withdrawals would not hamper the CMP budget.

However, in their announcement on Tuesday, CMP made it clear it is not under threat despite this withdrawal.

“This is by no means marking an end to the financial support by other donors to CMP which has both broadened and increased over the past five years,” they said in their announcement.

Commenting on the matter of Germany withdrawing their funding, CMP said that they were informed funds from the country would be allocated elsewhere.

“CMP has received information from the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicating the end of Germany’s financial support to the CMP citing a reorganisation of funds for foreign aid that will be prioritised towards Ukraine and migration in particular. The CMP is extremely grateful to Germany’s generous contribution of €0.8 million since 2006,” the announcement said.

The organisation said that they have seven teams that excavate daily across the island and operate an anthropological laboratory, “assessed as being the best in southeastern Europe by international experts”.

“CMP’s operational budget amounts to €3.2 million a year and is composed of three main cost centers: excavations and exhumations, anthropological analysis and genetic identification,” they said. The CMP project is co-funded by the European Union, which is the committee’s main and most regular donor with an annual contribution of €2.6 million

In addition to funds received by the EU, ten countries are regularly contributing to CMP’s budget.

In 2022, the CMP raised funds above its regular €3.2 million budget. This year, three countries have pledged important donations, including €1 million by Switzerland in a three-year grant.

Last week, speaking after the meeting, the representative of the Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons of Asha village, Maria Leontiou-Georgiou said in her statements that the Republic of Cyprus should support the work of the CMP and that the €3.5 million it has contributed to CMP in the last 17 years corresponds to €137 for each missing person, which was paltry.

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