Foundation and development
The Cyprus Civil Defence is based on the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
Where military forces are involved, the Civil Defence remains protected under international treaties and is assigned the task of protecting the civilian population. The growing need for a different approach to international law arose after the Second World War and its millions of deaths, during which civilians were legitimate military targets and cities were indiscriminately afflicted by fighting armies.
In Cyprus, Civil Defence was created after the aerial bombings of Tylliria, based on the 1964-1966 Legislation, as a direct response to the need to protect the civilian population. Later, it became an independent Department of the Ministry of Interior.
The 1996 Legislation and the 1997 Regulations shaped the present form and mission of the Cyprus Civil Defence as, apart from its role during hostilities, it was also assigned the responsibility to protect the population from various natural and man-made hazards.
Since then, a number of Laws have been approved dealing with Cyprus’ obligations derived by its participation in the EU. In particular, there is now harmonization of legislation regarding the protection of critical infrastructures, as well as for dealing with SEVESO-type technological accidents (for the preparation of External Emergency Plans).
Apart from the legislative framework of the Republic of Cyprus, there is now a series of EU Directives and Regulations which prevail over the national law. The Cyprus Civil Defence participates, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, in Working Groups of the European Council and European Commission, co-structuring the policy on risk management in the European Union.