Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
The government in the Republic of Cyprus has amended the penal code of the country and has added protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The criminal code amendment was made through a new article which seeks to criminalize incitement to violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Existing Cyprus law already protects against discrimination based on race, religion, and national or ethnic origin. Protections against discrimination in the workplace for LGBT people in Cyprus were added in 2004.
The addition of gender identity and sexual orientation adds to this framework by covering more grounds of discrimination, in accordance with a motion by the Commissioner for Administration against Racism and Discrimination.
The new amendment reads: “A person who publicly and in a threatening manner intentionally encourages or incites either verbally or with written texts or illustrations or any other way to violence or hatred directed against a person or group defined on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, is guilty of an offence and in case of conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding €5,000 (£4250) or to both such a fine and imprisonment.”
Cyprus has been a member of the European Union since 2004. Nearby Turkey recently made headlines when it proposed the inclusion of similar articles into the new draft of its constitution, as well as for creating furor over banning a major health website for transmen as an “administrative measure.”