Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of occupied Cyprus in 1974 resulted in thousands of Greek Cypriots fleeing to safety in the government controlled areas of the island.
Technically these people are classified as ‘internally displaced people’ (IDPs) because they live within the borders of the Republic of Cyprus.
According to the March 2011 report of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) Cyprus still has the highest number of IDPs in the world as a percentage of population: 208,000 people – one fifth of its total population. This starkly illustrates the extent of the human rights violations inflicted on the Cypriots by Turkey, in particular when compared to IDP numbers in war torn countries such as Somalia and Sudan.
Unfortunately the international community, in its pursuit of a Cyprus settlement that appeases Turkey, continues to ignore the plight of the displaced Cypriots, failing to recognise the right they all have to return, in accordance with numerous United Nations resolutions.