Statement by Her Majesty's Government
THE RIGHTS OF SMALLER RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN CYPRUS
In the negotiations leading up to the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, Her Majesty's Government have been concerned to secure for the minor religious groups in Cyprus (Armenians, Maronites and Latins) the continued enjoyment of the liberties and status which they have had under British rule. The following paragraphs set out the safeguards which are to this end being provided in the Constitution of the Republic.
2. Under the Constitution, members of these groups will, as individuals, be guaranteed human rights and fundamental freedoms comparable to those set out in the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocol thereto. Both as individuals, and as groups, they will also enjoy constitutional protection against discrimination.
3. The Constitution will enable the Armenians, the Maronites and the Latins, as groups, to choose to belong to either the GreekCypriot or the TurkishCypriot Community. In the event of option, the members of the group will enjoy the same benefits as the other members of the Community. For example, they will be eligible for the Public Service of the Republic.
4. Any religious group which has opted as a group to belong to one of the two Communities will have the right under the Constitution to be represented in the Communal Chamber of the Community for which it has opted.
5. It will also be possible under the Constitution for any religious group, in common with other bodies, to have recourse as a group to the Supreme Constitutional Court to complain of any breach of the Constitution or abuse of power directly affecting the group as a body.
6. Finally the Constitution will provide for members of the smaller religious groups to enjoy no less extensive rights in respect of religious matters than they enjoyed in law before the Constitution came into force, and matters of personal status will be under the jurisdiction of the religious groups themselves. In respect of education and cultural matters, the Presidentelect and the VicePresidentelect have given an assurance that the smaller religious groups need have no fear that they will be at a disadvantage in future in the allocation of public funds.
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