Northern Cyprus anti-gay law to be challenged

Published: February 7, 2012

A case has been lodged at the European Court of Human Rights against Turkey today to decriminalise homosexuality in Northern Cyprus.

The move, by the Human Dignity Trust, follows reports that Northern Cyprus’s anti-gay law continues to be employed despite assurances given by its leader that it would be repealed.

Cyprus was required by the ECHR to decriminalise consensual sex between consenting adults in 1993, but in the Turkish-occupied part of Northern Cyprus, homosexual acts are still illegal.

The case has been filed against Turkey, which the Trust said is responsible for protecting and promoting human rights in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Gay acts in Turkey have been legal since the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century.

The challenge, brought on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff, asserts that the laws violate his private and family life and that the resulting discrimination he suffers amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Commenting today, human rights barrister and Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust Jonathan Cooper said: “The fact that homosexual relations remain criminalised in Northern Cyprus is a violation of international law and the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

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