Cyprus has been divided geographically and politically by a heavily mined, 180km-long buffer zone since 1974 when Turkish Armed Forces occupied the north of the island. Minefields were laid within and outside the UN buffer zone by both the Greek Cypriot National Guard and Turkish Armed Forces. The exact extent of residual mine contamination is not known. It is estimated that less than 5 square kilometres of land on the island is contaminated with mines and other ordnance.
One of the major challenges to the fulfilment of Cyprus’s obligations under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty is the political and geographical division, which hinder effective mine clearance and data availability.
What we do
The Cyprus Mine Action programme has been underway since 2004 and is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with UNOPS and in close coordination with UN peacekeepers. In 2004 ITF supported setting up an UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO) and procurement of detectors and personal protective equipment for deminers subsequently commissioned by the MACC (UNDP) to do the clearance.