Turkish-held northern Cyprus has decriminalised gay sex, amending a statute left over from the British colonial code bequeathed to the Republic of Cyprus on independence.
In amending the penal code, the ‘assembly’ in the breakaway north also abolished the death penalty and imposed harsher penalties for sexual offences against minors, the Cyprus News Agency reported.
Europe’s International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) said the move means Europe is now the third continent in the world with no laws criminalising gay sex.
“In 1981, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in its historic judgment in Dudgeon v UK case that such laws are in breach of the European Human Rights Convention and must be abolished. It took Europe 33 years to completely free the continent from these unjust and discriminatory laws,” said Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA’s executive Board.
According to a 2013 report released by ILGA, criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation is maintained in 78 countries.