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Committee of Missing Persons: First remains will be handed to families at the end of June
2007-06-21 13:54:51

According to Christophe Girod, the third member of the Committee of Missing Persons, remains of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, missing from the early 1960s and the mid 1970s, will be returned to the families concerned at the end of June.

Mr. Girod pointed out, that this will be the first in a series of meetings with relatives to notify them about the fate of their loved ones and return their remains, exhumed and identified through the DNA method, which were located in both the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and the southern government controlled part of the island.

The remains are believed to belong to Turkish Cypriots killed during the intercommunal strife soon after the Republic of Cyprus was established and to Greek Cypriots killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion, which led to the occupation of the island’s northern third.

Greek Cypriot member of the Committee, Mr. Elias Georghiades, announced last month that more than 270 remains were discovered in different locations throughout Cyprus and were sent to the laboratory for scientific tests.  Mr. Georghiades added that full respect is shown during the entire procedure by the local and the foreign forensic experts involved in this project, adding that this is a humanitarian issue that has to be dealt with the utmost care and sensitivity.

Mr. Nikos Thodosiou, the president of the Committee said that, in addition to what is being done at present to ease the suffering of the families, the Committee will continue to work with a vision to establish the fate of all missing persons, including those who may still be alive.

In the late 1990s, the government of Cyprus in its effort to solve the issue of missing persons unilaterally decided to exhume remains, buried during the Turkish invasion in Cyprus' government controlled areas.  Remains that have already been identified from the work carried out by local and foreign experts, were returned to the families concerned.

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