Dom Research Center   News Clippings: Cyprus

Now you see them, now you don't for Cyprus Gypsies
in Reuters,
April 3, 2004

For three days last week, the thousand or so Dom people, or Gypsies, of Cyprus looked set finally to join Greeks, Turks, Armenians and others as one of the island's offical ethnic groups.

But, after 600 years, it was not to be.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders negotiating reunification vetoed a proposal by United nations mediators to extend minority rights to the Dom, including a special seat in parliament.

"Neither side wanted to give them special status that including them would have provided," said a diplomat involved in the talks in Switzerland last week. The final draft -- which makes no mention of the Dom -- goes to referendums on April 24 in a bid to end 30 ears of division between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The Dom, whose ancestors came to the island in the 14th century, had, however, been recognised in an earlier draft of the constitutional arrangements, seen by Reuters.

Three other minority groups -- Latin, Maronite and Armenian Christians -- whose numbers are in the thousands out of a total population of 800,000 have their own, non-voting representative in the Cypriot parliament under a 1960 constitution.

That constitution offers recognition to ethnic or religious minorities numbering at least 500 people.

A Greek Cypriot official said he did not know why the Dom, referred to as Roma by the U.N., had been excluded. Dom were not available for comment.

Copyright Reuters

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