on national refugees and missing persons in Cyprus

The Assembly,

  1. Recalling its previous recommendations and resolutions, particularly Recommendation 974 (1983) and Resolution 816 (1984) on the situation in Cyprus;
  2. Reiterating its desire to work, in close cooperation with the Secretary General of the United Nations, towards the restoration of a normal situation in Cyprus, which is a member state of the Council of Europe;
  3. Noting with satisfaction the action taken by the Council of Europe Resettlement Fund and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist national refugees;
  4. Regretting that fundamental humanitarian problems remain unresolved, and particularly those concerning the return of refugees to their homes and the agonising questions relating to missing persons;
  5. Nevertheless believing that it would be difficult to isolate the solutions to these problems from their political, institutional and economic contexts;
  6. Noting that tragic events have in effect partitioned the island into a southern part, where nearly all the Greek Cypriots are concentrated and a northern part, where nearly all the Turkish Cypriots are concentrated;
  7. Noting that the states guaranteeing the Constitution of Cyprus have not always fully assumed their responsibilities;
  8. Considering that the experiences of people on both sides mean that a return to a situation of mutual understanding and normal living conditions can be made only step by step, through the restoration of a climate of mutual trust;
  9. Noting:
    1. that the two communities have declared that they wish to live within a single independent territorially bi-zonal and bi-communal federal state;
    2. . that the disagreements centre on the future structure of this state and on the full exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms as described in the European Convention on Human Rights;
  10. Believing that everything possible should be done to solve the humanitarian problems and thus create a climate of trust conducive to progress in the political negotiations;
  11. Believing that the reduction of the strength of the military forces on the island will help to restore the climate of confidence;
  12. Considering that the interests of the young and of future generations must take precedence over those of the generations which have lived through a difficult period in Cyprus;
  13. Also believing that both communities ought to promote youth exchanges, an ideal means of enabling people to get to know each other better and of avoiding further conflict;
  14. Emphasising that reconciliation between the two communities can only be achieved by setting aside past mistakes and working on the basis of a shared desire to rebuild the future;
  15. Convinced that there can only be progress towards freedom of movement and settlement throughout the island's territory if relations between the two communities improve;
  16. Affirming that the forging of ever closer economic ties and the execution of plans beneficial to both communities could promote improvements in these relations, while at the same time fostering mutual political understanding;
  17. Observing that:

    i. human relations between the two communities can hardly develop positively unless agreement is reached on the painful problem of missing persons;

    ii. the families of missing persons are entitled to know the truth;

    iii. any publicity about this question will only delay the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, set up by the United Nations, and worsen the inhibitions of people who could provide information;

    iv. the declaration of a total amnesty in respect of acts connected with such disappearances on either side would certainly be likely to speed up the inquiry process;

  18. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
    1. continue its efforts to secure the repatriation or integration of displaced persons and national refugees in Cyprus, while trying to find a solution to the problem of compensation for these people;
    2. support every effort made to cast light on the fate of missing persons, in which respect a general amnesty on both sides would be helpful;
    3. ask the leaders of both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities not to alter the demographic structure of the island and especially to avoid untimely migratory movements;
    4. ask the Republic of Cyprus to facilitate an analysis of all available demographic data by an independent committee of experts under the auspices of the United Nations;
    5. restore trust between the two main communities in Cyprus by encouraging direct contact between inhabitants of Greek and Turkish origin, particularly by sponsoring cultural, sport and social events;
    6. foster increasing economic co-operation between the two Cypriot communities with a view to economic integration of the whole island;
    7. ask the competent authorities to permit the increase of the number of crossing points between the two parts of the island and to allow people to pass them freely, with a view to gradual elimination of existing obstacles to normal relations between its inhabitants;
    8. as a humanitarian and practical step towards the objectives set out in sub-paragraphs e, f and g above, propose that a United Nations administration replace the present military authorities in Varosha.

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Giorgos Zacharia (lysi@mit.edu) 1995-1999.
Last modified: Fri Jun 21 10:58:45 EDT 1996