The repercussions of the 1974 Turkish invasion, including the unseen aspects of women and children, were at the centre of a meeting on Friday between an American Hellenic Institute Foundation (Ahif) delegation and presidential commissioner for humanitarian affairs Anna Aristotelous. 

The delegation comprised AHIF officers Nick Larigakis and Alexander Christofor, as well as students who are on an educational visit to Cyprus. 

Larigakis expressed his support to efforts to determine the fate of missing persons and to strengthen and upgrade the living conditions of Greek Cypriots enclaved in the north and those who chose to live there afterwards. 

He added that they will continue awareness campaigns through Ahif and the programme ‘College student foreign policy study’ which aims at preparing students to support these issues in academic and professional fora.  

Aristotelous presented the issues of missing persons, the fallen, those left behind suffering the consequences of the invasion, and those aspects that never rose to the forefront – women and children. 

She particularly referred to five missing Greek Americans, two of which are still missing, while the remains of the other three have been identified and are now listed as fallen. 

Aristotelous referred to the difficulties and problems in locating missing persons due to Turkish intransigence. 

She said the disappearance of each person still missing constitutes multiple violations of fundamental human rights, not only for those missing, but their families as well, by perpetuating their grief. 

The commissioner noted that serious violations of human rights of missing persons and their families are mentioned in European Court of Human Rights rulings in cases of Cyprus vs Turkey, UN reports and resolutions, international humanitarian law, etc. 

Referring to the enclaved in the north and those who relocated there at their own will, despite the restrictions imposed on them, Aristotelous said the government was facilitating education, medical care and communication. 

Aristotelous also pointed out the important role of students and their professors as ambassadors of Cyprus in the US and congratulated them for contributing to cultivating awareness in the international community to address the issue of missing persons.