Northern part of Cyprus decriminalises homosexuality

This morning, the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality Bill passed the local Parliament of the northern part of Cyprus. The northern part of Cyprus was the last territory in Europe where homosexuality was still a crime.Cyprus and LGBT flag

With the adoption of the bill, Articles 171 and 173 of the local Criminal Code, foreseeing in five years’ imprisonment for homosexual acts, and three years’ imprisonment for ‘attempts to commit [these] crimes’, are abolished.

Moreover, the bill strengthens the protection of LGBT people by including a ban on hate speech against LGBT people. Furthermore, the bill bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the provision of public services.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup reacted:  “I am very happy that Europe is finally free from laws criminalising people for their sexual orientation.”

“I am also glad to see that the government has included a prohibition on hate speech against LGBT people and has improved protection from discrimination. This is a major leap forward for the rights of LGBT people.”

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup added: “I congratulate the Turkish Cypriot LGBT community on finally being able to exercise the most basic human right of all – the right to love.”

“As other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda impose increasingly draconian measures to persecute LGBT people, I hope that people will learn from Cyprus that the anti-gay legacy of Britain’s colonial past should be scrapped and not strengthened.”