Source: (2012) Cooperation and Conflict. 47(1):88– 105.

Transitional justice literature has highlighted a negative relationship between enforced disappearances and reconciliation in post-conflict settings. Little attention has been paid to how human rights issues can become stepping-stones to reconciliation. The article explains the transformation of the Cypriot Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) from an inoperative body into a successful humanitarian forum, paving the way for the pro-rapprochement bi-communal grassroots mobilization of the relatives of the missing. By juxtaposing the experience of Cyprus with other societies confronting similar problems, the article shows how the issue of the missing can become a driving force for reconciliation. The findings indicate that a policy delinking humanitarian exhumations from the prospect of a wider political settlement facilitates positive transformation in protracted human rights problems and opens up a window of opportunity to grassroots actors. (author's abstract)