The Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Protection, Maria Stylianou Lottides, has strongly denounced the recent surge of comments directly targeting the LGBTI community and promoting hate speech against its members. These comments, which have emerged in online posts and public statements, have sparked concern among advocacy groups.
According to Accept - LGBTI Cyprus, within the past two weeks, threatening comments have been made online, including calls for violence such as killing, assaulting, shooting, running over, cursing, and wishing death upon LGBTI individuals. The organization has called on the Cyprus Police, the Attorney General, and the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights to issue public statements and take necessary action to prevent potential harm.
In an official statement, Commissioner Stylianou-Lottidis emphasized that tolerance and respect for human dignity form the foundation of a democratic and pluralistic society, as outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). She stressed the importance of penalizing and preventing any expression that disseminates, incites, promotes, or justifies hatred based on intolerance within democratic societies.
The Commissioner warned that failing to address these issues promptly may lead to the translation of harmful rhetoric into real-world actions.
The Commissioner highlighted that incidents of homophobic and transphobic nature should not be dismissed as isolated occurrences but recognized as offenses that require severe penalties. By doing so, the state can reaffirm its position of zero tolerance towards such behavior and send a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates solidarity and support to potential victims, ensuring their protection. The Commissioner warned that failing to address these issues promptly may lead to the translation of harmful rhetoric into real-world actions. The rapid spread of rhetoric through social media, coupled with the imitation of behaviors without critical evaluation, creates an environment conducive to violence and hate crimes.
Stylianou Lottides reiterated the non-negotiable human rights of the LGBTI community in Cyprus and reaffirmed her office's commitment to respecting and protecting these rights. She called upon the relevant authorities to intervene immediately and thoroughly investigate the complaints filed by Accept-LGBTI Cyprus, emphasizing the need for decisive action to ensure the effective protection of the LGBTI community members.
The Commissioner's announcement underscores the importance of combating hate speech and upholding the principles of equality and human rights. The aim is to create a society where every individual can live free from discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]