Posts Tagged 'Press Statement'

Last Law in Europe Criminalizing Homosexuality is Scrapped, in First Win for the Human Dignity Trust

Press Statement from Human Dignity Trust

London-based legal organisation the Human Dignity Trust, which exists to support local challenges to anti-gay laws, is today celebrating its first win.

Northern Cyprus was, until today, the last jurisdiction in Europe to criminalise gay people. Homosexual acts between adult males were punishable by 5 years in prison in Turkish Northern Cyprus due to an antiquated law, a hangover from British colonial rule.

The Human Dignity Trust launched a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights to the existence of this law in January 2012, citing that it breached international human rights law, as well as Northern Cyprus’ own constitution. The Northern Cypriot Parliament soon after undertook to examine the provisions in their Criminal Code that made homosexual acts against the law.

Today lawmakers abolished these provisions, thereby decriminalising homosexuality in Northern Cyprus and, effectively, in Europe.

Jonathan Cooper, Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust, said:

“This is a historic day for gay people in Europe and a major victory for human rights, equality and the Human Dignity Trust.

Our case before the European Court required the law to be changed. Nowhere in Europe now still criminalises gay people and we are proud to say that we have played a significant role in bringing this shameful chapter in European history to an end.

Laws against private, consenting homosexual acts between adults criminalise someone’s very identity and have no place in the modern world.

These pernicious anti-gay laws, which protect no one and cause deep distress and harm to gay and lesbian people, still exist in 82 legal jurisdictions. But that is one fewer than yesterday, and this we must celebrate.”

Though the Northern Cypriot Parliament has voted in favour of amending the Criminal Code to decriminalise homosexual acts, the final stage in the process requires the President’s assent, which he is expected to give within 15 days.

The Human Dignity Trust’s case has been supported by the Northern Cypriot LGBT organisation Queer Cyprus (formerly ‘Initiative Against Homophobia’). The legal team, led by Nigel Pleming QC, includes Northern Cypriot lawyer Oncel Polili and Tom Mountford. Instructing solicitors are international law firm and member of the Human Dignity Trust’s legal panel, Taylor Wessing LLP

Related Content: 

Northern Cyprus votes to legalise gay sex – The Guardian

Gay sex legalized in northern Cyprus – Euronews

Sec. Hillary Clinton on UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham ClintonPress Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 17, 2011

Today, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the first ever UN resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love.

The United States worked with the main sponsor, South Africa, and a number of other countries from many regions of the world to help pass this resolution, including Brazil, Colombia, members of the European Union, and others. This resolution will commission the first ever UN report on the challenges that LGBT persons face around the globe and will open a broader international discussion on how to best promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.

All over the world, people face human rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including torture, rape, criminal sanctions, and killing. Today’s landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution.

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Related Posts:

Statement by Amb. Susan E. Rice;

UN Adopts Groundbreaking Resolution Affirming that LGBT Rights are Human Rights


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