In the lead up to the anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus, Federal Member for Adelaide Steve Georganas reflects on the current reality on the island 45 years on
In 1974, as we all know, the island of Cyprus was occupied – and 37 per cent of that island still remains occupied. Since then, a so-called state has been declared, but it has been recognised by only one nation in the entire world – and it just happens, ironically, to be the nation that invaded in 1974.
There are still 1,619 people missing. These people are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We have, in that 37 per cent of the island, homes where the owners have not been allowed to return. They are still not allowed to return, and 42 years is far too long to still be waiting for a solution.
Many UN resolutions have been called for, basically having the same principle: respect for the human rights of all the people of the island.
When you travel to Cyprus, it is an absolute tragedy to see the situation that exists over there. I have gone along the green line, the demilitarised zone, which divides the island. I have spoken with the Australian UN peacekeeping people that have been there over the years, including the Federal Police, who have made such a wonderful contribution to patrolling this zone since 1974.
Australia can and should play a bigger and better role.