Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Campaign Actions

02 April 2008
Write to your MP on the issue of the missing persons
Call on your MP or representative to raise the tragic issue of the missing persons in Prime Minister’s question time or at any other appropriate time before the House of Commons.

Write to your MP regarding the missing persons of Cyprus – call on Prime Minister Brown to press Turkey to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. 


How to take action

• Use the letter below as a basis for writing your own

or

• Copy and paste the letter below into your word processing programme and add the following details:

- The name of your own MP

- Your own name and address

- Date

- Your signature

Then print and post to your MP. 

or

Download, print, add the relevant details and post this letter to your MP »


Send your letter to your MP at the House of Commons. You can find your MP’s details using the following links: 

www.theyworkforyou.com 

www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm

Contact your MP/MEP direct:

http://www.writetothem.com


Sample letter


[Your name and address]


[Name of your MP]

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA


[Date]


Dear [name of your MP]

RE: Greek Cypriot missing persons


I am writing to you about the missing persons of Cyprus and to ask that you raise this important and tragic issue in Prime Minister’s question time or at any other appropriate time before the House of Commons. 


In the Varnava and others v Turkey case of 2008, Turkey was found guilty of violating the European Convention of Human Rights. By failing to conduct an effective investigation into the fate of the nine applicants, who have been missing since 1974, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a continuing violation of their right to life. Through the same failings, Turkey was guilty of subjecting the relatives of the nine applicants to inhumane and degrading treatment. The Court further noted that the missing persons had been seen alive under the detention of the Turkish army, in both Cyprus and Turkey, after the hostilities of 1974 had ceased and on this basis held that Turkey had violated their right to liberty.


On basis of this judgment I would like you to ask the Prime Minister what steps are being taken by him and his government to firstly ensure that Turkey complies with this judgment of the ECHR and provides information on the fate of the missing persons and what is being done to ensure full and prompt implementation of this judgment. 

 

I look forward to your response and thank you in advance for your action on this matter.


Yours sincerely

[Your signature and name here]


Further information:

Case summary

On 10 January 2008, the ECHR delivered its judgment in the case of Varnava and Others v Turkey (Applications nos. 16064/90, 16065/90, 16066/90, 16068/90, 16069/90, 16070/90, 16071/90, 16072/90 and 16073/90) by which Turkey was found guilty of violating the rights of nine Greek Cypriot missing persons and their relatives. They were all seen alive after their capture by the Turkish army in Cyprus and in Turkey where they had been transported as prisoners of war.

The ECHR held Turkey responsible for the violation of the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

• Article 2, for failing to conduct an effective investigation aimed at clarifying the whereabouts and fate of the nine men who went missing in 1974 in life threatening circumstances. 

• Article 3, for subjecting the remaining nine applicants, relatives of the missing, to treatment which attained a level of severity which could only be categorised as inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3.

• Article 5, for failing to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the nine men, in respect of whom there was an arguable claim that they had been deprived of their liberty at the time of their disappearance.

In its decision, the ECHR stressed that Turkey was obliged under international treaties to respect the wounded, prisoners of war and civilians and specifically under the ECHR it was obliged to take reasonable steps to protect the lives of those not, or no longer, engaged in hostilities. The judgment also rejects outright the Turkish position that the persons who disappeared during the 1974 Turkish invasion, and are still missing, should be presumed dead. Regarding the relatives of those who disappeared while under Turkey’s custody, the ECHR observes that they “must have undoubtedly suffered most painful uncertainty and anxiety and furthermore their mental anguish did not vanish with the passing of time”.

It should also be noted that the ECHR affirms its previous finding that the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) could not be considered a satisfactory replacement for Turkey’s obligation to carry out an “effective investigation” into the whereabouts of the missing persons. The ECHR also notes in its decision that even the exhumation and identification of remains, as was the case for one of the missing on the ECHR list, did not change this: “While it was true that the remains of Savvas Hadjipanteli had recently been discovered, that did not demonstrate that the CMP has been able to take any meaningful investigative steps beyond the belated location and identification of remains… Nor had that event displaced the Turkish Government’s accountability for the investigative process during the intervening period”.