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Cyprus: progress made, but areas to be strengthened

Strasbourg, France 4/04/2018
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Cyprus: progress made, but areas to be strengthened

The overall atmosphere in Cyprus with regard to the minority languages is very positive, says a new report by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages published today, alongside the Committee of Ministers' Recommendation on the issue. Despite budgetary constraints, the implementation of the Charter provisions concerning the Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic languages has improved. However, the Committee of Experts recommends that steps be taken to expand the teaching of these languages and strengthen their presence in broadcasting.

The Cypriot authorities have also taken measures to raise awareness of the Armenian and Maronite minorities, including through supporting cultural activities which demonstrate an interest from the speakers in promoting their languages. Both minorities have a Representative seat in the parliament.

Armenian is taught in pre-school, primary and lower secondary education; an Armenian radio programme is broadcast on a daily basis. However, it is not taught in upper secondary education and there is no regular presence of the language in on Cypriot television.

The Cypriot Maronite Arabic is in a less favourable situation, even though the authorities have been providing financial support for a research on this language and for the implementation of measures under the Charter.  Cypriot Maronite Arabic is only taught in primary education, and the language is hardly used by any kind of media in Cyprus.

The Committee of Experts encourages the authorities to advance the protection of Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic via providing teacher training for Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic and ensuring the appropriate presence of both languages in broadcasting.

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages entered into forced in Cyprus in December 2002.