After Northern Cyprus decriminalised homosexuality in 2014, Europe became the first region where homosexuality is legal in all countries. This does not mean that there is not still homophobia and persecution of LGBTI people in European countries. In 2012, in the case of Fedotova v Russian Federation, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Russia’s laws prohibiting gay ‘propoganda’ to minors violated the freedom of expression and non-discrimination provisions of the ICCPR. And there are regular reports of violence against LGBTI people in other parts of Europe.
Thus, the decriminalisation of homosexuality does not necessarily mean that the human rights of LGBTI people are being promoted and upheld. However, decriminalisation is the first step that needs to be taken. Only after homosexuality is no longer a crime, can work begin on other reform measures such as enacting anti-discrimination legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and recognising same-sex relationships. Many European countries still have a long way to go to become nations where all the rights of LGBTI individuals are respected and protected.