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22nd May 2017

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Cyprus is least gay-friendly EU country, study says

  • The ILGA-Europe map shows a clear east-west divide (Photo: ILGA-Europe)

Cyprus is the least gay-friendly EU country followed by Italy, Latvia and Malta according to a new report out by gay-rights group ILGA-Europe.

The study - out to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May - puts Cyprus in the 'red zone' alongside Armenia, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Russia and Turkey.

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The only European countries which scored worse are Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Religious countries in eastern and south-eastern Europe generally scored less well than northern and western countries.

The survey notes that unlike many EU members, Cypriot law makes no mention of sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination and hate speech measures. It has never hosted a gay pride event. It has no legal recognition of same sex partnerships and an unequal age of consent for straight and for same-sex couples.

Spain, Sweden and the UK come out as the most progressive. The study noted that Germany and Portugal scored better than last year, while Lithuania and Hungary slid down.

The survey for the first time took into account the rights of trans-gender people as well as gays, lesbians and bisexuals. It looks only at the legislative environment and does not take into account social factors or anecdotal evidence about levels of toleration.

"Europe considers itself a global leader on human rights and equality, but the map and the index clearly show how far we are from being able to claim the title of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender] human rights and equality champions," ILGA-Europe's Linda Freimane said.

Lithuania helps gay Chechens flee Russia

Linas Linkevicius, foreign minister of Lithuania, said his country issued visas to two persecuted Chechens and that an international effort was underway to protect others.

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