The Republic of Cyprus has banned the vilification of people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, adding the protections to the Mediterranean island’s Criminal Code.
Cyprus already protected people from vilification on the grounds of their race, skin color, religion, national or ethnic origin, or descent and the new protections were added in line with recommendations from Cyprus’ Commissioner for Administration and Authority against Racism and Discrimination.
The amendment to the Criminal Code 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 offense and in case of conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding € 5,000 or to both such a fine and imprisonment.’
LGBTs were already protected from discrimination in employment in Cyprus since 2004 and the government has announced plans for same-sex civil unions – putting its progress on LGBT equality far forward compared to Greece and Turkey, the two countries with the biggest cultural links with Cyprus.
In the part of Cyprus still occupied militarily by Turkey, homosexuality remains illegal, while Greece has no law banning vilification of LGBTs.