The civil society organisations: YKP-fem, Initiative Against Homophobia, Feminist Atelier, Post Research Institute, New Cyprus Party, Activist Thinking Community, Cypriot Youth Platform and Shortbus Movement, repeated their statement yet again on Monday 17 October in front of the Turkish Cypriot court house: “There are no relationships against nature. There are laws against nature”.
In the statement the age issue was also referred to. The statement said, “The current law in effect does not protect the rights of the children nor the rights of people’s control over their own bodies. It aims to protect the ‘morality’ of the society.”
The statement also said, “There is no appropriate law about the age of consent. This is a legal gap that we are working on to change and we will keep working on it. In this case the age issue is only being made an issue of because people associate homosexuality with paedophilia and this only feeds homophobic prejudice”.
It was once again stressed that these organisations oppose homophobic government and media.
Statement in full:
In the north of Cyprus, Article 171 of Chapter 154 of the Criminal Law, which has been in effect since the British colonial times, describes homosexual relationships as “relationships against nature”. This law continues to violate basic human rights. This law only affects relations between men. In recent months there have been arrests on the basis of alleged violations of this law and this has served as a painful reminder to everyone that this law is still in effect. It has also added one more violation of human rights to the list of violations by the “TRNC”.
On Monday morning, according to the information from multiple publishing organisations, three more people were arrested in the north of Cyprus on the grounds of “relationships against nature”. The arrests are continuing in the form of “mass arrests”. We have received information that two out of three people that were arrested were subject to police brutality. This is totally unacceptable and is yet another violation of human rights. We will follow up on the torture part of this investigation.
Media organisations, with the help of the government, are continuing to normalise this crime against humanity, as they have done before. Some of them have stated the names, jobs and photos of the people who were arrested and, instead of advocating human rights, they continue to manipulate the media with homophobic comments, hence taking the attention away from the human rights violation. They are also trying to put emphasis on the fact that one of the people who was arrested is 17, whereas it is known that in our country the age of consent for young women is 16 and it is non-existent for men. There is no appropriate law about the age of consent. This is a legal gap that we are working on to change and we will keep working on it. In this case the age issue is only being made an issue of because people associate homosexuality with paedophilia and this only feeds homophobic prejudice.
This is another example that this law in effect does not protect the rights of the children nor the rights of people’s control over their own bodies. It aims to protects the ‘morality’ of the society.
We do not want a homophobic government! We demand that this law that violates human rights with the support of the government and feeds hatred should be abolished immediately and new articles should be added that support equality and freedom. If people are going to be put on trial they should be tried on the right platform. And we demand an apology to all the people who have been affected by this and similar laws.
We do not want a homophobic media! We want people to use journalistic ethics when writing articles. We demand that people should prevent writers and organisations who engage in hate speech from continuing to do so. Hate and not love should be a crime.