There Are No Unnatural Relationships but There Are Unnatural Laws!

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Article 171 of Chapter 154 of the Penal Code dating from the British Administration in North Cyprus, which criminalizes homosexual relations on the grounds of unnatural relationships, continues to actively violate human rights. The arrests which have taken place the past few months based on this law have sadly reminded us that this law is still implemented. In addition, the TRNC government has added a new violation to its list of human rights violations. According to information obtained from various media organs on Friday morning, three individuals were arrested in north Cyprus for engaging in “unnatural relations”. We have also received information that two of the arrested people have been subjected to police violence while under arrest. While this is unacceptable, it also showcases that yet another violation to human rights has been experienced. We will follow up on the extent of the violence.

Media institutions continue to play a part in this state sponsored, in other words legal, normalized crime against humanity. Besides providing the names, occupations and images of the arrested people, the media has also ignored the violations by making comments which feed homophobia instead of actually defending human rights. Also, in an attempt to mold public opinion, the media stated that one of the individuals is 17 years old; however, although the age of consent is defined as 16 for women, a determined age for men does not exist within the laws. This clearly shows that the penal code in effect does not aim to protect the bodily integrity of individuals but rather protects the morality of the society. The focus point of the issue should be consent rather than age. Therefore, the individuals involved in this particular incident and future similar incidents should be judged within a human rights and consent framework; the victims involved in the incident should not be presented as “criminals”.

We don’t want a homophobic government! We urgently request that; article 171 of the Penal Code is removed to correct the state sponsored crime; equalitarian and libertarian articles are added; the arrested individuals are set free; and an apology is made to all the individuals affected by this law and similar laws that encourage hate!

We don’t want homophobic media! We request that media institutions and journalists stop encouraging hate speech and take journalism ethics into consideration while writing news articles and criminalize hate rather than love!

We call all conscious individuals, activists and human rights advocates to raise their voice and invite them to protest against the law in front of the Court on 17th October 2011, Monday at 9:00. 

Signatories:

YKP-fem, Initiative Against Homophobia, Feminist Atelier, Gender and Minorities Institute, Post Research Institute, New Cyprus Party, Activist Thinking Community, Cypriot Youth Platform, Shortbus Movement.

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