Cyprus
 National Profiles > > Regions > Western Asia > Cyprus
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1960
Last Amended As of 2006, last amendment was made in 2006
Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of 2006

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Article 2

For the purposes of this Constitution:
(1) the Greek Community comprises all citizens of the Republic who are of Greek origin and whose mother tongue is Greek or who share the Greek cultural traditions or who are members of the Greek-Orthodox Church;
(2) the Turkish Community comprises all citizens of the Republic who are of Turkish origin and whose mother tongue is Turkish or who share the Turkish cultural traditions or who are Moslems;
(3) citizens of the Republic who do not come within the provisions of paragraph (1) or (2) of this Article shall, within three months of the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, opt to belong to either the Greek or the Turkish Community as individuals, but, if they belong to a religious group, shall so opt as a religious group and upon such option they shall be deemed to be members of such Community:
Provided that any citizen of the Republic who belongs to such a religious group may choose not to abide by the option of such group and by a written and signed declaration submitted within one month of the date of such option to the appropriate officer of the Republic and to the Presidents of the Greek and the Turkish Communal Chambers opt to belong to the Community other than that to which such group shall be deemed to belong:
Provided further that if an option of such religious group is not accepted on the ground that its members are below the requisite number any member of such group may within one month of the date of the refusal of acceptance of such option opt in the aforesaid manner as an individual to which Community he would like to belong.
For the purposes of this paragraph a "religious group" means a group of persons ordinarily resident in Cyprus professing the same religion and either belonging to the same rite or being subject to the same jurisdiction thereof the number of whom, on the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, exceeds one thousand out of which at least five hundred become on such date citizens of the Republic;
(4) a person who becomes a citizen of the Republic at any time after three months of the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall exercise the option provided in paragraph (3) of this Article within three months of the date of his so becoming a citizen;
(5) a Greek or a Turkish citizen of the Republic who comes within the provisions of paragraph (1) or (2) of this Article may cease to belong to the Community of which he is a member and belong to the other Community upon -
(a) a written and signed declaration by such citizen to the effect that he desires such change, submitted to the appropriate officer of the Republic and to the Presidents of the Greek and the Turkish Communal Chambers;
(b) the approval of the Communal Chamber of such other Community;
(6) any individual or any religious group deemed to belong to either the Greek or the Turkish Community under the provisions of paragraph (3) of this Article may cease to belong to such Community and be deemed to belong to the other Community upon -
(a) a written and signed declaration by such individual or religious group to the effect that such change is desired, submitted to the appropriate officer of the Republic and to the Presidents of the Greek and the Turkish Communal Chambers;
(b) the approval of the Communal Chamber of such other Community;
(7) (a) a married woman shall belong to the Community to which her husband belongs.
(b) a male or female child under the age of twenty-one who is not married shall belong to the Community to which his or her father belongs, or, if the father is unknown and he or she has not been adopted, to the Community to which his or her mother belongs.


Article 10

1. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2. No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.
3. For the purposes of this Article the term "forced or compulsory labor" shall not include -
�(b) any service of a military character if imposed or, in case of conscientious objectors, subject to their recognition by a law, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;


Article 18

1. Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
2. All religions whose doctrines or rites are not secret are free.
3. All religions are equal before the law. Without prejudice to the competence of the Communal Chambers under this Constitution, no legislative, executive or administrative act of the Republic shall discriminate against any religious institution or religion.
4. Every person is free and has the right to profess his faith and to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice or observance, either individually or collectively, in private or in public, and to change his religion or belief.
5. The use of physical or moral compulsion for the purpose of making a person change or preventing him from changing his religion is prohibited.
6. Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in the interests of the security of the Republic or the constitutional order or the public safety or the public order or the public health or the public morals or for the protection of the rights and liberties guaranteed by this Constitution to any person.
7. Until a person attains the age of sixteen the decision as to the religion to be professed by him shall be taken by the person having the lawful guardianship of such person.
8. No person shall be compelled to pay any tax or duty the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.


Article 20

1. Every person has the right to receive, and every person or institution has the right to give, instruction or education subject to such formalities, conditions or restrictions as are in accordance with the relevant communal law and are necessary only in the interests of the security of the Republic or the constitutional order or the public safety or the public order or the public health or the public morals or the standard and quality of education or for the protection of the rights and liberties of others including the right of the parents to secure for their children such education as is in conformity with their religious convictions.
2. Free primary education shall be made available by the Greek and the Turkish Communal Chambers in the respective communal primary schools.
3. Primary education shall be compulsory for all citizens of such school age as may be determined by a relevant communal law.
4. Education, other than primary education, shall be made available by the Greek and the Turkish Communal Chambers, in deserving and appropriate cases, on such terms and conditions as may be determined by a relevant communal law.


Article 22

1. Any person reaching nubile age is free to marry and to found a family according to the law relating to marriage, applicable to such person under the provisions of this Constitution.
2. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall, in the following cases, be applied as follows: -
(a) if the law relating to marriage applicable to the parties as provided under Article 111 is not the same, the parties may elect to have their marriage governed by the law applicable to either of them under such Article;
(b) if the provisions of Article 111 are not applicable to any of the parties to the marriage and neither of such parties is a member of the Turkish Community, the marriage shall be governed by a law of the Republic which the House of Representatives shall make and which shall not contain any restrictions other than those relating to age, health, proximity of relationship and prohibition of polygamy;
(c) if the provisions of Article 111 are applicable only to one of the parties to the marriage and the other party is not a member of the Turkish Community, the marriage shall be governed by the law of the Republic as in sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph provided:
Provided that the parties may elect to have their marriage governed by the law applicable, under Article 111, to one of such parties in so far as such law allows such marriage.
3. Nothing in this Article contained shall, in any way, affect the rights, other than those on marriage, of the Greek-Orthodox Church or of any religious group to which the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 2 shall apply with regard to their respective members as provided in this Constitution.


Article 23

�4. Any movable or immovable property or any right over or interest in any such property may be compulsorily acquired by the Republic or by a municipal corporation or by a Communal Chamber for the educational, religious, charitable or sporting institutions, bodies or establishments within its competence and only from the persons belonging to its respective Community or by a public corporation or a public utility body on which such right has been conferred by law, and only �
(a) for a purpose which is to the public benefit and shall be specially provided by a general law for compulsory acquisition which shall be enacted within a year from the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution; and
(b) when such purpose is established by a decision of the acquiring authority and made under the provisions of such law stating clearly the reasons for such acquisition; and
(c) upon the payment in cash and in advance of a just and equitable compensation to be determined in case of disagreement by a civil court.
�8. Any movable or immovable property may be requisitioned by the Republic or by a Communal Chamber for the purposes of the educational, religious, charitable or sporting institutions, bodies or establishments within its competence and only where the owner and the person entitled to possession of such property belong to the respective Community, and only -�
9. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Article no deprivation restriction or limitation of the right provided in paragraph I of this Article. in respect of any movable or immovable property belonging to any See, monastery, church or any other ecclesiastical corporation or any right over it or interest therein shall be made except with the written consent of the appropriate ecclesiastical authority being in control of such property and the provisions of paragraphs 3, 4, 7 and 8 of this Article shall be subject to the provisions of this paragraph:
Provided that restrictions or limitations for the purposes of town and country planning under the provisions of paragraph 3 of this Article are exempted from the provisions of this paragraph.
10. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Article, no deprivation, restriction or limitation of any right provided in paragraph 1 of this Article in respect of any vakf movable or immovable property, including the objects and subjects of the vakfs and the properties belonging to the Mosques or to any other Moslem religious institutions, or any right thereon or interest therein shall be made except with the approval of the Turkish Communal Chamber and subject to the Laws and Principles of Vakfs and the provisions of paragraphs 3, 4, 7 and 8 of this Article shall be subject to the provisions of this paragraph:
Provided that restrictions or limitations for the purposes of town and country planning under the provisions of paragraph 3 of this Article are exempted from the provisions of this paragraph.


Article 28

1. All persons are equal before the law, the administration and justice and are entitled to equal protection thereof and treatment thereby.
2. Every person shall enjoy all the rights and liberties provided for in this Constitution without any direct or indirect discrimination against any person on the ground of his community, race, religion, language, sex, political or other convictions, national or social descent, birth, color, wealth, social class, or on any ground whatsoever, unless there is express provision to the contrary in this Constitution.
3. No citizen shall be entitled to use or enjoy any privilege of any title of nobility or of social distinction within the territorial limits of the Republic.
4. No title or nobility or other social distinction shall be conferred by or recognized in the Republic.


Article 59

1. No person shall be appointed as a Minister unless he is a citizen of the Republic and has the qualifications required for a candidate for election as a member of the House of Representatives.
2. The office of a Minister shall be incompatible with that of a Representative or of a member of a Communal Chamber or of a member of any municipal council including a Mayor or of a member of the armed or security forces of the Republic or with a public or municipal office or in the case of a Turkish Minister with that of a religious functionary (din adami).
For the purposes of this paragraph "public office" has the same meaning as in Article 41.
3. The Ministers shall hold office in the case of the Greek Ministers until their appointment is terminated by the President of the Republic and in the case of the Turkish Ministers until their appointment is terminated by the Vice-President of the Republic.
4. Any person appointed as a Minister shall, before entering upon his office, make before the President and the Vice- President of the Republic the following affirmation: -
"I do solemnly affirm faith to, and respect for, the Constitution and the laws made thereunder, the preservation of the independence and the territorial integrity, of the Republic of Cyprus."


Article 70

The office of a Representative shall be incompatible with that of a Minister or of a member of a Communal Chamber or of a member of any municipal council including a Mayor or of a member of the armed or security forces of the Republic or with a public or municipal office or, in the case of a Representative elected by the Turkish Community, of a religious functionary (din adami).
For the purposes of this Article "public office" means any office of profit in the service of the Republic or of a Communal Chamber the emoluments of which are under the control either of the Republic or of a Communal Chamber, and includes any office in any public corporation or public utility body.


Article 87

1. The Communal Chambers shall, in relation to their respective Community, have competence to exercise within the limits of this Constitution and subject to paragraph 3 of this Article, legislative power solely with regard to the following matters: -
(a) all religious matters;
�(d) the composition and instances of courts dealing with civil disputes relating to personal status and to religious matters;


Article 90

1. Subject to the ensuing provisions of this Article each Communal Chamber shall have power by or in its own communal laws to provide for the application (tatbik) of its laws and decisions.
2. A Communal Chamber shall have no power to provide in any of its laws or decisions for imprisonment or detention for any violation thereof or failure to comply with any directions given by a Communal Chamber in exercise of any power vested in it under this Constitution.
3. The Communal Chambers shall have no competence to use measures of constraint (cebir) to secure compliance with their respective communal laws or decisions and of the judgments of the Courts dealing with civil disputes relating to personal status and to religious matters within their respective competence.
4. Where it becomes necessary to use measures of constraint in compelling compliance with any law or decision of a Communal Chamber or with any matter connected with the exercise of the authority of control or supervision by a Communal Chamber such measures of constraint shall, on the application by or on behalf of the Communal Chamber, be applied by the public authorities of the Republic which shall have exclusive competence to apply such measures of constraint.
5. The execution of any judgment or order of a court in connection with any matter within the exclusive competence of a Communal Chamber shall be carried out through the public authorities of the Republic.


Article 101

1. The office of a member of a Communal Chamber shall be incompatible with that of a Minister or of a Representative or of a member of any municipal council including a Mayor or of a member of the armed or security forces of the Republic or with a public or municipal office and, in the case of that of a member of the Turkish Communal Chamber, with that of a religions functionary (din adami).
2. For the purposes of this Article "public office" means any office of profit in the public service of the Republic or of a Communal Chamber the emoluments of which are under the control either of the Republic or of a Communal Chamber and includes any office in any public corporation or public utility body.


Article 108

1. The Greek and the Turkish Communities shall have the right to receive subsidies from the Greek or the Turkish Government respectively for institutions of education, culture, athletics and charity belonging to the Greek or the Turkish Community respectively.
2. Also where either the Greek or the Turkish Community considers that it has not the necessary number of schoolmasters, professors or clergymen (din adami) for the functioning of its institutions, such Community shall have the right to obtain and employ such personnel to the extent strictly necessary to meet its needs as the Greek or the Turkish Government respectively may provide.


Article 109

Each religious group which under the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 2 has opted to belong to one of the Communities shall have the right to be represented, by elected member or members of such group, in the Communal Chamber of the Community to which such group has opted to belong as shall be provided by a relevant communal law.


Article 110

1. The Autocephalous Greek-Orthodox Church of Cyprus shall continue to have the exclusive right of regulating and administering its own internal affairs and property in accordance with the Holy Canons and its Charter in force for the time being and the Greek Communal Chamber shall not act inconsistently with such right.
2. The institution of Vakf and the Principles and Laws of, and relating to, Vakfs are recognized by this Constitution.
All matters relating to or in any way affecting the institution or foundation of Vakf or the vakfs or any vakf properties, including properties belonging to Mosques and any other Muslim religious institution, shall be governed solely by and under the Laws and Principles of Vakfs (ahkamul evkaf) and the laws and regulations enacted or made by the Turkish Communal Chamber, and no legislative, executive or other act whatsoever shall contravene or override or interfere with such Laws or Principles of Vakfs and with such laws and regulations of the Turkish Communal Chamber.
3. Any right with regard to religious matters possessed in accordance with the law of the Colony of Cyprus in force immediately before the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution by the Church of a religious group to which the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 2 shall apply shall continue to be so possessed by such Church on and after the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.


Article 111

1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution any matter relating to betrothal, marriage, divorce, nullity of marriage, judicial separation or restitution of conjugal rights or to family relations other than legitimation by order of the court or adoption of members of the Greek-Orthodox Church or of a religious group to which the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 2 shall apply shall, on and after the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution, be governed by the law of the Greek-Orthodox Church or of the Church of such religious group, as the case may be, and shall be cognizable by a tribunal of such Church and no Communal Chamber shall act inconsistently with the provisions of such law.
2. Nothing in paragraph 1 of this Article contained shall preclude the application of the provisions of paragraph 5 of Article 90 to the execution of any judgment or order of any such tribunal.


Article 152

1. The judicial power, other than that exercised under Part IX by the Supreme Constitutional Court and under paragraph 2 of this Article by the courts provided by a communal law, shall be exercised by a High Court of Justice and such inferior courts as may, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be provided by a law made thereunder.
2. The judicial power with respect to civil disputes relating to personal status and to religious matters which are reserved under Article 87 for the Communal Chambers shall be exercised by such courts as a communal law made under the provisions of this Constitution shall provide


Article 160

1. A communal law made by the Communal Chamber concerned shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, provide for the establishment, composition and jurisdiction of courts to deal with civil disputes relating to personal status and to religious matters which are reserved for the competence of the Communal Chambers by the provisions of this Constitution.
2. By such law provision shall be made for appeals against the decisions of such courts and for the composition of the courts by which such appeals are to be heard and determined and for the jurisdiction and powers of such appellate courts. A communal law made under this paragraph may provide that such appellate court may be composed of a judge or judges of the High Court either sitting alone or with such other judge or judges in the judicial service of the Republic as such law may determine.
3. Any such court as aforesaid in the exercise of its jurisdiction, shall apply the laws made by the Communal Chamber concerned:
Provided that nothing in this paragraph contained shall preclude a court of the Republic from applying in a case, where an issue relating to personal status or to religious matters is raised incidentally, the relevant communal law.


Article 161

Subject to paragraph 3 of Article 160 the courts of the Republic shall have power to apply also the relevant communal laws other than those relating to personal status and to religious matters.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.