Following its independence, Cyprus joined the United Nations on 20 September 1960. Since then it actively participates in the activities of the international organization and contributes to the promotion of the United Nations’ aims and principles.
Further to participating in the UN General Assembly plenary meetings, Cyprus participates in the following principal or subsidiary bodies of the Organization:
- Committee on Relations with the Host Country: Members of the Committee are the host country (USA) as well as other 18 states, among which Cyprus, which chairs the Committee with its Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organization.
- Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization. Cyprus is a founding member of the Committee. Initially its composition was limited, yet by the adoption of a relevant decision of the General Assembly, the Committee is now open to all members of the Organization.
- Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Committee comprises 26 members and 24 observers.
- Committee on Information: The Committee on Information was established in 1978 with the aim to review the Organization’s activities in the field of public information. After its last enlargement it comprises 114 members. Cyprus is a founding member.
- UN Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations. The Committee was established in 1965 with the aim to review all aspects of the Organization’s Peace-keeping Operations. Cyprus became a member in 1996 when the Committee was enlarged. 122 members participate in this Committee.
Cyprus has also been a member of the following:
- Economic and Social Council: Cyprus was a member of the 54 member Council during 1979-1981.
- UN Council for Namibia: Cyprus was a member of the Council and has been actively participating in its activities since its establishment in 1967 up until the declaration of Namibia’s independence in 1990.
Cyprus participates in the deliberations of the UN Disarmament Committee, which is open to all members of the Organization. It has also been a member of the Committee on International Law and the Advisory Committee of the UN Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law. Cyprus’ most recent election was in 2012 for a four year term.
Cypriot experts participate in committees which have been established for monitoring International Conventions on Human Rights such as:
- The Committee on the Eradication of Racial Discriminations.
- The Human Rights Committee
- The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Specialized Agencies of the UN System and other Autonomous Bodies
Cyprus is also a member of the Specialized Agencies of the UN System and has been elected periodically to various committees such as the Council of the International Maritime Organization (without fail since 1987) and the Executive Board of the International Labour Organization.
United Nations and the Cyprus Problem
The United Nations, the General Assembly and other principal and subsidiary bodies and committees as well as specialized agencies of the UN System have been involved in the Cyprus problem and have adopted numerous resolutions, on all aspects of the problem.
The landmark resolution 3212 (XXIX) of 1 November 1974, which was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly, including the positive vote of Turkey, and subsequently endorsed unanimously by the Security Council (by resolution 365 of 13 December 1974), calls for the respect of the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus. Furthermore, it calls for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from the island, the cessation of all foreign interference and the undertaking of urgent measures for the return of the refugees to their homes in safety.
Subsequent resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly contain all the essential elements for the solution of the Cyprus problem. They reaffirm the international community’s principled position in support of the independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and the recognition of the Cyprus Government. Furthermore, the Security Council, by Resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), condemns the declaration of the purported secession of the occupied part of the Republic, which it considers legally invalid, and calls for its withdrawal. The Security Council further calls upon all member-states of the Organization not to recognize the new secessionist entity and to refrain from any action towards its assistance.
Resolution 2135 (2014), mandatory paragraph 6, reaffirms all relevant resolutions on Cyprus and in particular Resolution 1251 (1999), paragraph 11 whereby the Council “reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in a bicommunal and bizonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession”.
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
UNFICYP was established with the consent of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus on 27 March 1964. The establishment of the Force was mandated by the United Nations Security Council in the Resolution adopted on 4 March 1964 [186, (1964)], after the outbreak of intercommunal clashes on the island and the threat of imminent intervention by Turkey.
The Force was deployed for an initial period of three months and ever since its mandate is extended every six months and renewed with the consent of the Government of Cyprus. Since its establishment, the Force has carried out significant work, concretely assisting the peace-keeping effort which the United Nations have entrusted to the Secretary General.
The mandate of the Force, as set out in Security Council Resolution 186 (1964), includes functions such as:
- Preventing a recurrence of fighting – maintaining the cease fire. At the end of the 1974 Turkish invasion and the occupation of 36.4% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the mandate of the Force was adjusted to the new situation. In order to better monitor the cease-fire and prevent the recurrence of fighting, the peace-keeping force adopted a new operational concept, namely the “buffer zone” – an area between the two cease-fire lines – where only UNFICYP can enter.
- Contributing to the maintenance and restoration of law and order as necessary.
- Contributing to a return to normal conditions.
Resolution 361 (1974) assigns humanitarian functions to the Force pertaining to taking measures for the relief and welfare of the refugees and providing assistance to the enclaved persons in the occupied areas.