A demilitarized zone, DMZ or DZ is an area in which treaties or agreements between nations, military powers or contending groups forbid military installations, activities or personnel. A DMZ often lies along an established frontier or boundary between two or more military powers or alliances. A DMZ may sometimes form a ''de facto'' international border—for example, the 38th parallel between North and South Korea. Other examples of demilitarized zones are a area between Iraq and Kuwait, Antarctica (preserved for scientific exploration and study) and outer space (space more than from the earth's surface).
Many demilitarized zones are considered neutral territory because neither side is allowed to control it, even for non-combat administration. Some zones remain demilitarized after an agreement has awarded control to a state which (under the DMZ terms) had originally ceded its right to maintain military forces in the disputed territory. It is also possible for powers to agree on the demilitarization of a zone without formally settling their respective territorial claims, enabling the dispute to be resolved by peaceful means such as diplomatic dialogue or an international court.
Several demilitarized zones have also unintentionally become wildlife preserves because their land is unsafe for construction or less exposed to human disturbances (including hunting). Examples include the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone, and the Green Line in Cyprus.
==Current demilitarized zones==
* Aegean Islands – The Greek islands of Chios, Icaria, Mytilene, and Samos are partially demilitarized according to the Treaty of Lausanne. The Treaty forbids all naval fortifications and bases and stipulates that military forces on the islands "be limited to the normal contingent called up for military service."〔Treaty of Lausanne, art. 13〕
* Åland Islands – The Åland Convention of 1921, which was concluded following a decision of the League of Nations in response to the Åland crisis, mandates that the Finnish government maintain the territory as a demilitarized area.
* Antarctica – The Antarctic Treaty forbids military activity in Antarctica, such as "the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapon". The Treaty does however provide for the "use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purpose".〔Antarctic Treaty (1959), art. 1〕
* Ceuta border fence and Melilla border fence – A ''de facto'' demilitarized zone exists between the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla and Morocco. Perimeter fences around both cities have been constructed by Spanish and Moroccan authorities, creating a demilitarized zone between the Spanish and Moroccan fences.
* Dniester Valley Security Zone – Created by the cease-fire agreement ending the War of Transnistria, the Joint Control Commission peacekeeping mission monitors a demilitarized zone roughly outlining the Dnister between Moldova and Transnistria.
* Ground Safety Zone – A -wide demilitarized area between Serbia and Kosovo was created under the Kumanovo Agreement following the Kosovo War.
* Korean Demilitarized Zone – The Korean Armistice Agreement created a 4 km (2.5 mi)-wide demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea following the Korean War.〔Korean Armistice Agreement (1953), art. 1〕 It is currently the most heavily guarded area in the world.
* Kuwait–Iraq barrier – The United Nations Security Council approved the creation of a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait in Resolution 689. Although the demilitarized zone is no longer mandated by the Council, it continues to exist.
* Preah Vihear Temple – The International Court of Justice had ordered the creation of a "provisional demilitarized zone" around the Temple whose ownership is claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand.〔(Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (''Cambodia v. Thailand'') ) (2011). International Court of Justice.〕
* Sinai Peninsula – The Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty sets a limit to the amount of forces Egypt can place in the Sinai Peninsula. Parts of the peninsula are demilitarized to various degrees, especially within of Israel. Israel also agreed to limit its forces within of the Egyptian border. The areas are monitored by the Multinational Force and Observers.
* Svalbard – The Svalbard Treaty of 1920, which recognized Norwegian sovereignty over the territory, designated the area as demilitarized.
* Sudan – A demilitarized zone along the Sudan – South Sudan border.
* United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus – The United Nations Security Council created a buffer zone separating the self-proclaimed, internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from the Republic of Cyprus. It was authorized by Resolution 186 and is patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.
* United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone – The United Nations Security Council approved the creation of a demilitarized zone in a portion of the Israeli side of the Golan Heights bordering with Syria in Resolution 350. The zone is monitored by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.
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