Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organizations in Turkey have fought a long campaign for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to be prohibited. With the new government promising to introduce important constitutional changes, now is the time to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Turkey suffer discrimination in employment, housing and access to public services. These communities’ rights to freedom of expression and association have been repeatedly threatened.
Discriminatory statements by public officials and in the media reflect and further fuel an official toleration of homophobia and transphobia. In this discriminatory climate, violence and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals by police officers and in the military remains unchecked. Effective measures are also lacking to prevent and investigate suspected hate crimes targeting people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The newly elected government in Turkey has pledged to introduce a new constitution containing greater human rights protections. An anti-discrimination law is also scheduled to come before the Turkish parliament. However without concerted pressure, there is a danger that these legal changes will again ignore lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s demands for equality.
Call on the Turkish authorities to ensure that the constitution and anti-discrimination legislation guarantee the right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Extend Constitutional protections of the right to non-discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Introduce comprehensive non-discrimination legislation
Image: © Amnesty International