Michael Cashman advocates for law change in northern Cyprus

This is a personal press release by Michael Cashman, and does not necessarily represent the LGBT Intergroup’s official policy on Cyprus.

Last week Member of the European Parliament Michael Cashman met local leaders and non-governmental organisations in the northern part of Cyprus, advocating for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The northern part of Cyprus is the last territory in Europe where homosexuality is a crime.

Michael Cashman and local Prime Minister Irsen Küçük

Michael Cashman and local Prime Minister Irsen Küçük

Michael Cashman MEP visited the northern part of Cyprus on 12 and 13 April, where he met local Members of Parliament and party leaders, Speaker of the local parliament Hasan Bozer, local Prime Minister Irsen Küçük, and local leader Derviş Eroğlu.

Talks focused on the need for a comprehensive review of local laws, which currently punish homosexuality with up to five years in prison. Several arrests had taken place in recent months, prompting the visit.

All agreed that urgent changes included decriminalising same-sex activity; equalising the age of consent for both same-sex and different-sex intercourse; and defining rape more clearly.

A live TV show on homosexuality was also broadcast on local TV channel Kanal Sim.

Reshat Shaban from Queer Cyprus Association declared: “Thanks to Michael’s visit to northern Cyprus, our demands for equal rights were heard by political leaders. Undoubtedly, most pressing for us is to fully decriminalise homosexuality, equalise the age of consent and better protect LGBTQ people under the law.”

Michael Cashman, Co-president of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, concluded: “All my interlocutors agreed local laws need updating urgently. Now the Parliament must do its work, and align the Criminal Code with binding European standards.”

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Updated at 12:00