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Northern Cyprus finally decriminalises homosexuality

Northern Cyprus has become the last jurisdiction in Europe to decriminalise homosexuality.

Until today homosexual acts between two adult males was punishable by up to five years in prison in Turkish Northern Cyprus, a law carried over from British Colonial rule. This effectively marks the expulsion of the criminalisation of homosexuality in Europe.

The challenge regarding the existence of this law was first put forward to the the European Court of Human Rights in January 2012. This led the Northern Cypriot Parliament to examine the provisions set forward in their Criminal Code that made any homosexual act against the law. Lawmakers have finally abolished these provision resulting in the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The Northern Cypriot LGBT organisation Queer Cyprus looked for help from the Human Dignity Trust when bringing the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. This partnership led to the Northern Cypriot Parliament voting voting in favour of amending the Criminal Code to decriminalise homosexual acts, however the President’s assent is still need. This is expected to be delivered within 15 days and will mark the final stage of this process.

Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust , Jonathan Cooper, said: “This is a historic day for gay people in Europe and a major victory for human rights, equality and the Human Dignity Trust. These anti-gay laws still exist in 82 legal jurisdictions. But that is one fewer than today, and this we must celebrate.”

This battle has taken two years but is one step closer to showcasing that anti-gay laws truly have no place in the modern world.

Words: Frazer Lough (@FrazerLough)

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