By unknown British Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By unknown British Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP)  was established in 1981 by an agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the backing of the United Nations (UN),to determine the fate of persons reported missing in inter-communal fighting in the 1960s, and as a result of the events of 1974. A total of 493 Turkish Cypriots and 1,508 Greek Cypriots were officially reported as missing by both communities to the CMP.

The Committee consists of three members, one appointed from the Greek Cypriot community, one from the Turkish Cypriot community and a third member selected by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The agreement stipulates that the Committee must have access throughout the island to carry out its work.

CMP does not attempt to investigate, or attribute responsibility for the deaths of missing persons or make findings as to the cause of such deaths. Its mandate is a humanitarian one of “bringing closure to thousands of affected families through the return of the remains of their missing relatives.”

The Committee has created a comprehensive, agreed list of missing persons, and works to recover and identify the missing and return mortal remains to the relatives of the missing.

In July 2012 ICMP began providing assistance in making DNA-based identifications.   ICMP’s role in this assistance has included isolating DNA from post-mortem samples received from the CMP and matching DNA profiles obtained from these post-mortem samples against DNA profiles from anonymized family reference samples. In addition, ICMP has provided guidance on problematic cases, and assistance in matching profiles from a historical database of samples produced prior to ICMP’s involvement.

To date, ICMP has generated DNA profiles from 1,381 bone samples submitted for testing. A total of 1,194 DNA match and re-association reports, representing 292 missing persons, have been submitted to the CMP.

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