Several associations struggling against homophobia are advocating for not recognizing homosexuality as a crime any longer and submitted a related draft to the President of the Assembly of Northern Cyprus, Hasan Bozer. The organizations took Bozer's promise to amend those laws that consider homosexuality as a crime.
The Initiative Against Homophobia Association organized the "Solidarity and Networking Conference Cyprus 2010" in co-operation with the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) - Europe on 3-6 December. The participants of the international event emphasized that homosexuality is recognized as a crime only in Cyprus and assessed this fact as a "violation of human rights".
The conference was hosted by the Journalists Union. Psychologist Ziliha Uluboy, an expert on the topic and an activist of the Initiative Against Homophobia Association, said in her speech:
"Besides legal procedures, life with the identity of a homosexual as a lesbian or a gay exposes individuals to severe discrimination in all areas of society. The scientific studies carried out by our association prove that these people are exposed to discrimination in all areas of life such as school and other social institutions. Both legal and social aspects of human rights are being violated".
"Why should love between two men be a crime?"
Uluboy said that they presented a Criminal Law Amendment Bill to Assembly President Bozer during a meeting. Bozer told her that most of the current laws were left from the times of British administration and thus outdated. He indicated that these laws would be amended in 2011 by the Assembly of the Republic as part of the harmonization process with the EU. Furthermore, Bozer told Uluboy that the critical Chapter 154 could be removed in the scope of the amendments.
Yoryis Regginos, spokesman of the Southern Cyprus LGBT Organization, raised the question, "Why is the love between two male adults based on mutual consent a crime?" He stressed that this situation was unacceptable.
Regginos said that his organization was working for not recognizing homosexuality as a crime any more. "We are not submitting a certain demand. We only want the rights that belong to everybody. And we will succeed", he pointed out.
Gabi Calleja from the Malta Homosexual Rights Organization and member of the ILGA-Europe Steering Board emphasized, "I believe that people should not have to live with the fear for who they are".
Modinos: I went to court and won
Alecos Modinos is the Founder and President of the Southern Cyprus Gay Freedom Movement. He stated that he never believed homosexuality be a crime. He talked about the case he filed and won at the European Court of Human Rights against the government of Southern Cyprus.
Ceylan: Homosexuality not accounted as a crime in Turkey
According to Öner Ceylan, member of the International Relations Commission of the LambdaIstanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual (LGBT) Solidarity Association, noted that in Turkey homosexual relations have never been criminalized.
The draft of the new version of the Turkish Criminal Law from 2004 included "discrimination against a homosexual orientation" as a crime which was later removed silently, Ceylan explained. He said that his organization is working for an addition to the article on equality to prevent discrimination against homosexuals. He added that homosexual individuals have never been punished with prison sentences. (BT/EÖ)
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