Last farewell to missing persons campaigner

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Xenophon Kallis, long-time head of the missing persons service at the Foreign Ministry who died at 73 after a long battle with cancer, was laid to rest on Tuesday in Dali.

President Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs Constantinos Kombos and representatives of the United Nations and Turkish Cypriots attended the state-paid funeral service.

Kallis had served for many years as head of the Missing Persons Service and, most recently, was an adviser to the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs.

The eulogy was delivered by journalist Andreas Paraschos, who paid tribute to his life and work.

Paraschos said Kallis had been the “soul and conscience” of the tragedy of missing people in Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.

He noted that he seemed to know them all personally, adding that he dedicated himself to their cause and offered his life selflessly and with absolute faith.

“Xenophon Kallis is irreplaceable…he held the key of knowledge, will and a huge experience about missing persons in Cyprus.”

Paraschos said that in recent years, information about missing persons has dried up as almost all those who knew where they were buried in 1974 have passed away.

A UN-backed Committee on Missing Persons was established upon agreement between Cypriot leaders with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.

According to the CMP, out of 2,002 missing persons, 1,204 were exhumed, and 1,033 were identified.

Of 1,510 Greek Cypriot missing, 741 were identified, 769 are still unaccounted for, and of the 492 Turkish Cypriot missing, 292 were identified, and 200 cases are unsolved.