14 December 2015: The Republic of Cyprus today became the eighth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning it was signed by Chile and then Cyprus.
The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. It does not create new international obligations for signatory States, financial or otherwise. ICMP remains a voluntarily funded organization.
A total of 493 Turkish Cypriots and 1,508 Greek Cypriots have been reported as missing by both communities as a result of events in the 1960s and in 1974.
ICMP has worked with the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) since July 2012, when it began providing assistance in making DNA-based identifications. Following the signing of the Agreement, ICMP hopes to explore options to enhance it support.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus stressed that Cyprus’s “painful national experiences have helped us appreciate the importance of enhancing international cooperation and exchanging best practices for the cause of missing persons globally. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has therefore decided to sign the Agreement. ICMP can count on Cyprus’s support in the global effort to promote justice and to alleviate the suffering of the missing persons and their families.”
ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said this morning’s accession to the Agreement would make it easier for ICMP to work with stakeholders in Cyprus, and she added that “I look forward to working with Cyprus to explore options to enhance its efforts to account for missing person and to secure the rights of families of the missing to truth and justice.”
ICMP was created at the G-7 Summit in Lyon, France in 1996. It is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to helping governments and others account for those who go missing as a result of conflict, crime, migration, human rights violations and natural disasters. To date, ICMP has generated DNA profiles from 1,632 bone samples submitted for testing. A total of 1,533 DNA match and re-association reports, representing 341 missing persons, have been submitted to the CMP.
For more information about ICMP’s work with the CMP in Cyprus please visit http://bit.ly/1luoQqL