Summary: Northern Cyprus becomes the last country in Europe to decriminalise homosexuality

27th January 2014: The parliament of Northern Cyprus has voted to repeal a law dating from the British colonial period which criminalises gay sex between consenting adults and punishes them with up to five years in prison.

The decision is still to receive presidential endorsement, but President Derviş Eroğlu is expected to give his assent within the next two weeks. If it becomes law, it will mean that no states in Europe, Australasia or North America now criminalise homosexuality.

SRT grantee the Human Dignity Trust and the LGBT organisation Queer Cyprus launched a case at the European Court of Human Rights last year arguing that the continuing criminalisation of consenting sexual acts in Northern Cyprus is a breach of international law. The European Convention of Human Rights required Northern Cyprus to decriminalise, and the Court would have forced the law to be changed.

Cyprus legalised gay sex between consenting adults in 1993, but due to its division into separate Greek and Turkish states, many criminal laws inherited from the British colonial era – including the ban on homosexuality – remained in force in the North.

Article from the Guardian about the decision:

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