THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
Origin of the constitution
1. On the I6th August, 1960, the republic of Cyprus was established as an “independent and sovereign republic” and its constitutions came into force .
That constitution was mainly based on the Agreement reached at Zurich on the Iith february, 1959, between the Greek and the Turkish Prime Ministers, whereby the basic structure of the Republic of Cyprus was laid down and two draft Treaties, the Treaty of Guarantee and the treaty of Alliance between the Republic; of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey were formulated, as later implemented by the Agreement reached in London on the 19th february, 1959, between the Governments of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey and the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Community of Cyprus . Under the London Agreement certain measures were agreed for the new arrangements in Cyprus one of which was the immediate establishment of a Joint Commission in Cyprus composed of one representative each nominated by the Government of Greece and the Government of Turkey together with a legal adviser nominated by the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey for the purpose of drafting a constitution for the independent Republic of Cyprus . The legal adviser so appointed was Professor marcel Bridel, of the University of Lausanne, assisted by Mr. louis Bagi, a lawyer from Lausanne.
Drafts of human rights
2. The Joint Constitutional Commission commenced officially its work on the 6th May, 1959, at a plenary session at which Professor Bridel was welcomed by the heads of the delegations. There were submitted two drafts for the constitution of Cyprus on behalf of the Greek and the Turkish delegations respectively and the matter was then referred to a preparatory sub-committee.
Both drafts contained a part relating to human rights. The Greek drafts was mainly based on the constitution of Greece which originated from the constitution of Turkey of the roth january 1945 and was rather following the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe made at Rome on the 4th November 1950. The human rights provided in such drafts were of the “classic type” or of the “old catalogue” and were referring to political and civil rights.
Social and economic rights
3. It was Professor Bridel who, by his proposed draft for the articles of the constitution on fundamental human rights, submitted to the preparatory sub-committee, raised the question of the inclusion of certain social or economic rights in the proposed constitution of Cyprus . The preparatory sub-committee at a series of meetings considered the draft of the part of the constitution relating to human rights and produced its first draft on the roth August 1959. That part together with the other parts of the constitution were considered at successive meetings of the preparatory sub-committee held in Cyprus and later at Lausanne, where the preparatory sub-committee adjourned its meetings, from the 18th january to 10th February, 1960. At those meetings the final draft relating to human rights was settled, the only question remaining outstanding being that relating to the right to marriage. That right, after protracted discussions of the delegations was finally settled and the present Article 22 of the constitution took its final from.
4. The draft prepared by the preparatory sub-committee in English was adopted by the Joint Constitutional Commission at its plenary session of the 6th April 1960 over which Professor Bridel presided and was then translated into Greek and Turkish, the two official languages of the Republic under the Zurich Agreement. The Greek and Turkish text thus prepared was declared to be the relevant text of the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus under the Republic of Cyprus Order-in-Council 1960 and was initialed by initialed by representations of the British, Greek and Turkish Governments and the two leaders of the Greek and Turkish Community in Cyprus in the early hours of the 16th August, 1960, when it was put into force .
Part II of the constitution is entitled “Fundamental Right and Liberties” and as already stated apart from the political and civil rights deals also with social, economic and cultural rights.