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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on mass graves of the missing persons of Ashia at Ornithi village in the occupied part of Cyprus

10.2.2015 - (2015/2551(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Josef Weidenholzer, Michela Giuffrida, Kashetu Kyenge, Nikos Androulakis, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Krystyna Łybacka, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Demetris Papadakis, Costas Mavrides, Miroslav Poche, Victor Negrescu, Viorica Dăncilă, Luigi Morgano, Nicola Caputo, Enrico Gasbarra, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Biljana Borzan on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0150/2015

Procedura : 2015/2551(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on mass graves of the missing persons of Ashia at Ornithi village in the occupied part of Cyprus


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its resolutions of 15 March 2007 and 18 June 2008 on Missing persons in Cyprus,

- having regard to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations (UN) and a Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of human rights in Cyprus and other international initiatives taken to investigate the fate of missing persons in Cyprus,

- having regard to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of 10 May 2001 and 10 January 2008 concerning missing persons in Cyprus and the ECHR Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey of 12 May 2014,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Missing persons in Cyprus of 9 April 2008,

- having regard to Declaration of the European Parliament of 9 June 2011 on the work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus,

- having regard to the mission report of the LIBE delegation to Cyprus of 19-21 December 2012,

- having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 14 August 1974 the village of Ashia was bombarded by Turkish air forces and on 21 August 1974 enforced mass evacuations were conducted by the Turkish army;

B. whereas in total 107 individuals from the village of Assia, aged 11-84, went missing in 1974;

C. whereas in the spring of 2009, the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) conducted a search in the Ornithi area, situated about 4 km west of Ashia village, whereas four burial sites were disinterred, two of which were water wells and the sites of mass graves, whereas the remains found and identified by DNA testing have confirmed that they belonged to the list of 70 civilians who went missing in Ashia in August 1974;

D. whereas evidence that emerged from the search in the Ornithi would indicate that the two mass graves had been previously exhumed with the use of heavy machinery and would have been intentionally removed and transferred to as yet unknown locations;

E. whereas further evidence that could support the above conclusion are the findings from exhumation work on various locations on the island, the cases of mass graves in Ayios Ilarion, Kornokipos, Afania, Assia-Ornithi, and Lapithos, all of which have been previously removed;

F. whereas the Cypriot authorities consider that the cases, where only partial persons skeletal remains can be handed over for burial cannot be considered as closed until the complete remains of all the missing persons have been discovered;

G. whereas the suffering of the families of missing persons, who have remained ignorant of the fate of their beloved relatives for decades, still continues and whereas all efforts must therefore be made to expedite the investigations in order to locate the complete remains of the missing persons;

H. whereas the problem of missing persons is exclusively a humanitarian one deriving from the right of the relatives of missing persons to know their fate;


1. Condemns the aforementioned acts as a violation of the rights of their families to finally know the real causes of the death of their loved ones;

2. Underlines that such acts constitute a major disruption and complication for an inherently challenging and difficult process and that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities should further improve their cooperation to find a common solution addressing the problem of the missing persons;

3. Highlights the urgency of the matter as the families of the missing persons, 41 years after their disappearances, continue to suffer the pain of uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones and time is running out to find them as witnesses and relatives are passing away;

4. Calls on Turkey to stop any potential removal of the remains from the mass graves and to facilitate to that effect the efforts of the three-party Committee on Missing Persons (Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and UN) by providing information as to the location these remains were transferred, as well as by giving full access to military archives and military zones for further exhumations to be carried out;

5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, and the Government and Parliament of Turkey.