Plea for the Missing on special day

THE Committee for Missing Persons (CMP) called on relatives of missing persons to honour their absent loved ones on the occasion of International Day of the Disappeared yesterday.
“Missing persons is not only a humanitarian problem or a political issue,” said a press release from the tripartite committee, tasked with tracking down the remains of Greek and Turkish Cypriot missing from the intercommunal troubles of the 1960s and the Turkish invasion.
“It is first and foremost the human tragedy, the problem of a profound pain. The pain that does not differentiate, that has no nationality, no religion, has no race or age. Slicing through individual human hearts, it leaves deep bleeding wounds in a society at large.”
According to statistics released by the CMP, there are 1,464 Greek Cypriot and 494 Turkish Cypriot missing persons.
As of August 15, 2010, the CMP visited 412 alleged burial sites, exhumed bones relating to 690 individuals and conducted osteological analyses at the Anthropological Laboratory where bone samples are also prepared.
The Committee had 1,187 DNA analyses performed by the Laboratory of Forensic Genetics of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) and returned to their families the remains of 248 missing individuals for a proper burial.
At present teams of scientists are digging up three wells in the Strovolos suburb of Nicosia. The remains of three to four missing persons, believed to be Turkish Cypriots who disappeared during the 1963-64 intercommunal strife, have been found in one of the wells. Identification usually takes months.
The efforts of the CMP, which started back in 2006, are facilitated by the United Nations, supported by the international community and enjoy robust endorsement by both leaders.
“The Three Members of the Committee on Missing Persons wish to renew the appeal to all those who can help towards achieving better results and expedite the whole process, to do so without further delay,” the CMP announced. “To give a credible answer to families about the fate of their loved ones is a neutral and urgent need and, in many ways, a humanitarian and noble obligation by all.”