Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Organisation of Relatives of Missing Cypriots (UK)

  We note with great interest your decision to conduct an inquiry into UK policy towards Cyprus, in the light of recent developments.

  The issue of the missing people of Cyprus represents one of the most significant violations of Human Rights in recent history. It has been the subject of several UN Resolutions. The Committee of Missing Persons was set up by the UN in 1981 in order to facilitate a solution, but failed so far. The 1997 Agreement on the missing between Mr Clerides and Mr Denktashh has not been implemented. The decision of the European Court of Human Rights of 2001 has not been implemented. Despite the fact that this issue has been conclusively documented by no less an authority than the International Red Cross, all efforts to solve this tragic problem have so far been unsuccessful because:

  1.  Turkey does not co-operate and instead continues to insist on the application of a methodology that the presumption of death is the solution, rather than a solution based on humanitarian principles.

  2.  Some powerful international governments not only have they turned a blind eye to Turkey's human rights violations and deficiencies, but are actually aiding her in its efforts to avoid responsibility.

  It is fair to say, on the other hand, that the Government of Cyprus has done everything in its power to help achieve a solution to the tragic problem of the missing, including unilateral steps on exhumations and identifications, which were started in 1999 and are still continuing, as well as the establishment of a DNA Data Bank for missing Turkish Cypriots.

  We urge the Honourable Members to consider their responsibilities towards the Cypriot people, including the missing and their families.

  The Greek Cypriots including the relatives of the missing, more than everybody want a solution since they are the ones with most to lose in its absence, but they want a solution based on fairness, justice, complete freedom and Human Rights and, a genuine reunification of the island.

  Yes, the UK policy towards Cyprus ought to change. It ought to become fair and honest. It ought to espouse the principles of international law and justice and apply its considerable influence towards the implementation of human rights.

N Neokleous

President, Organisation of Relatives of Missing Cypriots (UK)

13 September 2004

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