Newsroom / CNA
A visit to Cyprus by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament (LIBE) is extremely important Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) third member Paul-Henri Arni told the Cyprus News Agency.
LIBE, led by Spanish MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, will hold an exploratory mission on the island, focusing on examining the progress made on the missing persons issue.
Asked about the mission, Arni said: "We are going to give him ( Aguilar) a sense of the humanitarian urgency to deal with this question (missing persons question) because in Strasbourg things get very often politicized."
"We want him, as special rapporteur, to understand the humanitarian dimension and the drama of the families and the necessity to accelerate this work and also to tell him that the European support -for which we are very thankful -has to continue because we are at a period of time where probably 5-6 more years we have to increase our efforts," he pointed out.
According to Arni, the CMP is investing in new technologies and in new methods to improve its investigation and it is very important to do it now before the last witnesses pass away.
"So we want to tell him that it is extremely important for the European Parliament to continue supporting this work and for him to believe that, he has to see it, otherwise he won’t believe it,’’ he said.
MEP Aguilar was invited to Cyprus a few months back when he was appointed Special rapporteur for missing persons.
Arni recalled former EP President Martin Schulz’s visit to the CMP lab in 2016.
"So we want to tell him that it is extremely important for the European Parliament to continue supporting this work"
"He said the CMP’s impressive scientific work has deep personal dimension and it is an example of how together Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can overcome pain of the past and find the energy to build a better future together, he would have never said these words if he hadn’t been here,’’ Arni said about the Schulz visit.
LIBE on Wednesday will meet UNSG Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar and then with the CMP members.The MEPs will also pay a visit to the CMP Anthropological Laboratory.
The CMP is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the participation of the United Nations.
Following the establishment of an agreed list of missing persons, the CMP’s objective is to recover, identify, and return to their families, the remains of 2003 persons (492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,511 Greek Cypriots) who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963 to 1964 and the 1974 Turkish invasion.
So far, 856 missing persons from both communities have been identified and returned to the families for a dignified burial.