The government in the Republic of Cyprus has amended the penal code of the country in order to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Fileleutheros newspaper reports that the criminal code amendment was made through a new article which seeks to criminalise incitement to violence, and hatred against individuals or groups, based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Existing laws criminalised discrimination based on race, religion, national or ethnic origin, among other things.

The addition of gender identity and sexual orientation adds to the framework to cover more grounds of discrimination, in accordance with a motion by the Commissioner for Administration against Racism and Discrimination.

The new amendment reads: “A person who publicly and in a threatening manner intentionally encourages or incites either verbally or with written texts or illustrations or any other way to violence or hatred directed against a person or group defined on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, is guilty of an offence and in case of  conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding  €5,000 (£4250) or to both such a fine and imprisonment .”

Protections against discrimination in the workplace for LGBT people were added in 2004.