Origins

Origins

From 1974-1977, a number of inter-communal meetings on the problem of the missing persons were held but made no significant progress. Between 1977 and 1981, negotiations took place in Nicosia, Geneva and New York for the establishment of a Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP). Between 1975 and 1978 the UN General Assembly (GA) adopted three different resolutions on the missing persons in Cyprus, calling for the establishment of an investigatory body to tackle this humanitarian problem. Subsequently, the GA adopted two additional resolutions in 1981 and 1982, respectively, welcoming the establishment of the CMP and urging the CMP to proceed without delay in carrying out its mandate.

The CMP was established in April 1981 by agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities under the auspices of the United Nations. Over the next two decades, work on both sides focused on conducting investigations to establish the fate of the missing and negotiate a common official list of all those who disappeared. Blood samples were collected from relatives to aid future identifications. In 1997, the leaders of the two communities agreed to provide each other immediately and simultaneously all information already at their disposal on the location of graves of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons.

In 2006, the climate was ripe for the CMP to begin excavations and exhumations on both sides of the island. In order to provide the required expertise, archaeologists and anthropologists from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) were brought in to coordinate and train a bi-communal team of Cypriot scientists involved in exhumations and anthropological analysis. An anthropological laboratory was set-up in the United Nations Protected Area in Nicosia.

Since 2008, the CMP’s bi-communal forensic team has been carrying out exhumations autonomously (up to 8 teams in the north and 2 teams in the south). EAAF forensic experts continue to be involved in the project for quality control purposes.

UN General Assembly Resolutions

UN GA Resolution 3450 (1975) - file format 'PDF'
The GA, gravely concerned about the fate of a considerable number of Cypriots...

UN GA Resolution 32/128 (1977) - file format 'PDF'
The GA, concerned at the lack of progress towards the tracing of and the accounting for missing persons...

UN GA Resolution 33/172 (1978) - file format 'PDF'
The GA urges the establishment of an investigatory body...

UN GA Resolution 34/164 (1981) - file format 'PDF'
The GA, welcoming the agreement establishing the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus...

UN GA Resolution 37/181 (1982) - file format 'PDF'
The GA, reaffirming the basic need of families to be informed...