Numerous resolutions on the Cyprus issue have been adopted by the Security Council, the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies since 1974.

The General Assembly - Time and again the General Assembly has reaffirmed the need to settle the question of Cyprus in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant United Nations resolutions and stressed the right of the Republic of Cyprus and its people to full and effective sovereignty and control over the entire territory of Cyprus and its natural and other resources. The General Assembly has also considered the withdrawal of all occupation forces from the Republic of Cyprus as an essential basis for a speedy and mutually acceptable solution of the Cyprus problem and demanded the immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from the Republic of Cyprus.

Furthermore, the General Assembly has repeatedly called for respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the freedom of movement, the freedom of settlement and the right to property and the instituting of urgent measures for the voluntary return of the refugees to their homes in safety, and considered that the de facto situation created by the force of arms should not be allowed to influence or in any way affect the solution of the problem of Cyprus. (Resolution 37/253 of 13/5/1983).

The Security Council - The Security Council, having the duty to maintain and restore international law and order and conscious of its special responsibilities under the United Nations Charter, has called upon all parties to do everything in their power to alleviate human suffering, to ensure the respect to fundamental human rights for every person and to refrain from all action likely to aggravate the situation.

The Security Council has also expressed its grave concern at the plight of the refugees and other persons displaced as a result of the situation in Cyprus and urged the parties concerned, in conjunction with the Secretary-General, to search for peaceful solutions of the problems of refugees, and take appropriate measures to provide for their relief and welfare and to permit persons who wish to do so to return to their homes in safety. (Resolution 36 of 30/8/1974) Furthermore, the Security Council has strongly condemned the further secessionist acts in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus which are in violation of resolution 541(1983), namely the purported 'exchange of Ambassadors' between Turkey and the legally invalid 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' and the contemplated holding of a 'constitutional referendum' and 'elections', as well as by other actions aimed at further consolidating the purported independent state and the division of Cyprus and underlined its deep concern about recent threats for settlement of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants.

Expressing the fundamental principles of international law, the Security Council has reiterated the call upon all states not to recognise the purported state of the 'Turkish Republic on Northern Cyprus' set up by secessionist acts and called upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity. (Resolution 550 of 11/5/1984).

The Human Rights Commission - The Human Rights Commission was actively involved with the human rights aspects of the Cyprus issue right from the beginning of their massive violations by Turkey. The Commission has called upon the parties concerned to undertake urgent measures to facilitate the voluntary return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in safety and to settle all other aspects of the refugee problem and urged all parties to refrain from unilateral actions in contravention of the relevant United Nations resolutions, including changes in the demographic structure of Cyprus.

The Commission has also requested the Secretary-General to continue and intensify his efforts under General Assembly resolution 3450 (XXX) in respect of missing persons in Cyprus and called upon the parties concerned to cooperate with the Secretary-General in the fulfilment of his task. (Resolution 4(XXXII) of 27/2/1976). Having in mind that the Turkish side has ignored all the United Nations resolutions, the Commission reiterated its calls for the full restoration of all human rights to the population of Cyprus, in particular to the refugees and called for the tracing of and accounting for missing persons in Cyprus without any further delay. In particular, the Commission has considered attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as illegal and called for the immediate cessation of such activities, while it demanded the restoration and respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the freedom of movement, the freedom of settlement and the right to property. (Resolution 1987/50 of 11/3/1987).

The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities - The question of the violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus was examined also by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which has demanded the full restoration of all human rights to the whole population of Cyprus, including the freedom of movement, the freedom of settlement and the right to property, expressed its great concern and anguish about the fate of the missing persons and expressed its concern also at the policy and practice of the implantation of settlers in the occupied territories of Cyprus which constitute a form of colonialism and attempt to change illegally the demographic structure of Cyprus. (Resolution of 2/9/1987).

The Council of Europe - The Council of Europe, through both its judicial and political instruments, has considered Cyprus' appeals against Turkey as justified and has verified the massive and flagrant violation of human rights committed by Turkish occupation forces against the Cypriot population.

The European Court of Human Rights - By a majority of 16 to 1 (the judge appointed by Turkey) the European Court of Human Rights delivered on 10 May 2001 its judgment in the fourth inter-state application of Cyprus v. Turkey ((Application no. 25781/94). The Court, expressing the values of contemporary European legal order, has created the framework within which Turkey should act in respect of the protection and respect of human rights.

The European Court of Human Rights is considered as the ultimate defender of European legal order and the principles of mankind's civilisation. In its judgment in Cyprus' fourth inter-state application against Turkey, the Court decided that Turkey, by her actions or omissions in Cyprus, continues to violate the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, and specifically that:

  1. There has been a continuing violation of Article 2 of the Convention on account of the failure of the authorities of the respondent State to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of Greek Cypriot missing persons who disappeared in life-threatening circumstances.
  2. There has been a continuing violation of Article 5 of the Convention by virtue of the failure of the authorities of the respondent State to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the Greek Cypriot missing persons in respect of whom there is an arguable claim that they were in Turkish custody at the time of their disappearance.
  3. There has been a continuing violation of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the relatives of the Greek Cypriot missing persons. (The relatives of persons who went missing during the events of July and August 1974 were condemned to live in a prolonged state of acute anxiety which cannot be said to have been erased with the passage of time.)
  4. There has been a continuing violation of Article 8 of the Convention by reason of the refusal to allow the return of any Greek Cypriot displaced persons to their homes in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus.
  5. There has been a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 by virtue of the fact that Greek Cypriot owners of property in the occupied area of Cyprus are being denied access to and control, use and enjoyment of their property as well as any compensation for the interference with their property rights.
  6. There has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention by reason of the failure to provide to Greek Cypriots not residing in the occupied area of Cyprus any remedies to contest interferences with their rights under Article 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
  7. There has been a violation of Article 9 of the Convention in respect of Greek Cypriots living in northern Cyprus regarding the restrictions placed on the freedom of movement of that population which considerably curtailed their ability to observe their religious beliefs, in particular their access to places of worship outside their villages and their participation in other aspects of religious life.
  8. There has been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention in respect of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Cyprus in so far as school books destined for use in their primary school were subject to excessive measures of censorship.
  9. There has been a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Cyprus in that their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions is not secured in case of their permanent departure from that territory and in that, in case of death, inheritance rights of relatives living in the government-controlled area of Cyprus are not recognized.
  10. There has been a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Cyprus in so far as no appropriate secondary school facilities are available to them.
  11. There has been a violation of the right of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Cyprus to respect for their private and family life and to respect for their home, as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention.
  12. There has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in that the Greek Cypriots living in the Karpass region, in the occupied area of Cyprus, have been subjected to discrimination amounting to degrading treatment.
  13. There has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention by reason of the absence, as a matter of practice, of remedies in respect of interferences by the occupation authorities with the rights of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied area of Cyprus under Articles 3, 8, 9 and 10 of the Convention and Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol No. 1.
  14. There has been a violation of Article 6 of the Convention on account of the legislative practice of authorizing the trial of civilians by Turkish military courts.

Apart from the findings on specific violations of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus, the Court decided that:

  • The Republic of Cyprus has remained the sole legitimate government of Cyprus. This means that the Republic of Cyprus continues to have full legal rights over its entire territory and its entire population, although prevented temporarily by the use of military force to exercise such rights over the occupied area.
  • Turkey is responsible for any violation of human rights committed within the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus.
  • The Court's reasoning and conclusion in the case of Loizidou v. Turkey (Application No. 40/1993/435/514) that Mrs. Loizidou remained the legal owner of her land in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus, apply with equal force to displaced Greek Cypriots who, like Mrs. Loizidou, are unable to have access to their property in northern Cyprus by reason of the restrictions placed by the occupation authorities on their physical access to that property.

It is worth mentioning that the above-mentioned judgment is binding on each and every member-state of the Council of Europe. It is furthermore stressed by international law experts that, given the extended area in which the judgment is applicable and the significant status of the European Court of Human Rights, the findings of the Court are considered as jus cogens (compulsory international law).

The European Commission of Human Rights - The European Commission of Human Rights has examined four inter-state appeals of Cyprus against Turkey and has verified in its respective reports the massive violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus.

According to the findings of the Commission, Turkey, through the Turkish occupation forces,

  • had embarked upon a systematic course of mass murders, not only of soldiers who had surrendered, but also of civilians unconnected with any war activity, including women and children,
  • had displaced a massive number of Greek Cypriots (about one quarter of the whole population or 28% of the Greek Cypriot population) from their homes
  • had detained thousands of persons arbitrarily and without lawful authority,
  • is responsible for the unlawful deprivation of liberty of the persons taken in Turkish custody and is responsible also for failure in accounting for the fate of those persons,
  • s responsible for wholesale and repeated rapes of women, ranging in age from 12 to 71,
  • s responsible for 'inhuman treatment' exercised against Cypriots of all ages,
  • is responsible for deprivation of possessions of Greek Cypriots on a large scale, both during and after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

The Commission concluded that all those crimes, most of which are considered as 'crimes against humanity', were directed against Greek Cypriots simply because of their ethnic origin, race and religion.

The Parliamentary Assembly - Though the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly is a purely political body and Turkey has a strong direct and indirect political presence in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly has taken a just position on the violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus, based on the principles of European legal order. The Assembly, in relevant resolutions, has condemned the continuing flagrant violation of human rights in Cyprus by Turkey.

The European Union - The policy of the European Union regarding the violation of human rights and international law by Turkey in Cyprus has repeatedly been expressed in various resolutions of the European Parliament. Those references, coming from a European political body, are considered as a particularly positive factor for the restoration of the human rights of the Cypriots, in view of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 and Turkey’s application to join the Union and the need for both countries to prove their respect for the acquis communautaire of the European Union and their commitment to effectively implement it.

The European Parliament has condemned the unilateral declaration of an 'independent Turkish Cypriot state', and has also condemned the resulting 'referendum', the 'presidential elections' and the 'parliamentary elections' in the Turkish-occupied section of northern Cyprus as illegal. (Resolutions of 17/11/1983 and 13/9/1985).

The European Parliament is the only body which has clearly stated that the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and colonists from Cyprus is a prior condition which cannot be circumvented for any normalization of relations between the EEC and Turkey. (Resolution of 9/7/1987). With reference to the systematic destruction of the Cypriot cultural heritage by the Turkish occupation forces, the European Parliament has condemned the systematic policy of expunging the past and the Hellenic and Christian culture pursued by Turkey in the part of Cyprus occupied by its troops, as regards both the imposition of place-names and the disappearance or transformation of the island's cultural heritage. (Resolution of 10/3/1988). In general, the European Parliament has condemned the flagrant violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus and has called directly upon the government of Turkey to withdraw its occupation forces from the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. (Resolution of 12/7/1990 and 20/1/1993).

Regarding the murder of Tassos Isaak and Solomos Solomou by the Turkish occupation forces during the summer of 1996, the European Parliament has condemned the murders of the two young Greek Cypriots by the Turkish army of occupation and members of the unlawful Denktash regime, while it has expressed deep concern at the indiscriminate use of violence by the Turkish occupying forces. (Resolution of 19/9/1996).

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005