As the local elections draw closer in Northern Cyprus, Queer Cyprus Association prepared a text titled “LGBTI+-Friendly Local Governance Protocol” and invited the municipal mayoral candidates to sign the protocol, reminding the future mayors of their responsibilities towards LGBTI+ rights.
Here are some of the duties listed under the protocol:
“I hereby vow to;
- Take steps to protect the rights and the liberties of LGBTI+ individuals, to undertake egalitarian, liberal, transparent and participatory local governance practices in the district I am running for,
- To realize policies providing LGBTI+ individuals access to public services, equal benefit from rights to healthcare, to accomodation, to employment and to transportation,
- To take these policies into account when preparing our budgets,
- To cooperate with LGBTI+ associations and platforms in order to ensure that local services are all-inclusive,
- To support the CSO’s working in the field of sexual orientation and gender identity and to organize activities or projects together with the municipality’s relevant units or similar local institutions,
- To prepare an anti-discrimination regulation for the municipality which includes sexual orientation and gender identity,
- To organize vocational training for municipality employees regarding LGBTI+ rights and discrimination,
- To encourage cultural centers and recreational facilities ran by the municipality to include sexual orientation and gender identity related issues in their activities,
- To encourage the municipality’s current online and print media platforms to inform the public regarding gender identity and sexual orientation equality and ban discrimination,
- To be a LGBTI+ friendly mayor.”
While the deadline for the mayor candidates to sign the protocol is June 22, two candidates have already signed it. Ulaş Gökçe, the independent mayoral candidate for Gazimağusa signed the protocol on May 26. Mehmet Harmancı, the incumbent mayor of the Turkish Municipality of Lefkoşa, running again for the post with the Communal Democracy Party (Toplumcu Demokrasi Partisi) signed the protocol on May 27th. It is reported that during Harmancı’s administration, the Lefkoşa Turkish Municipality has supported LGBTI+ rights by putting up the rainbow flag, organizing seminars to increase awareness on equality and discrimination as well as decorating roundabouts with rainbow banners on May 17 as a part of IDAHOBIT celebrations.