Nefes, the LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, is calling on people around the world to support their campaign to get the Azerbaijani government to legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crime.
22 January is National Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in the republic of Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani authorities do not accept fundamental human rights or freedom of expression, assembly and movement – or political rights and civil liberties. There is a state crackdown on government critics, lawyers and journalists.
In the report by Freedom House for 2016, Azerbaijan is again in not on the list of free countries. Among the UN and Council of Europe member states Azerbaijan is ranked as one the worst human rights abusers.
There are damning reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and a critical resolution by the European Parliament regarding the failings on rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan.
These general, broad human rights shortcomings include inadequate LGBTI rights too.
The European Parliament in 2015 passed a resolution calling for better legal and police protection of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan.
According to ILGA Europe’s annual report for 2016, Azerbaijan was ranked in last place in Europe among the 49 member countries of the Council of Europe. Russia was ranked in 48th place.
Last year numerous violent attacks were carried out against LGBTI individuals, and several murders were reported. For example:
– The police in Baku carried out a series of raids on buildings where trans sex workers gathered
– A gay man who had been living in the Shamkir region was found dead at his apartment.
– A 28 year-old trans person was found strangled and stabbed to death in an apartment in Baku.
– Another trans person was stabbed in the throat near a metro station in Baku
Hate speeches from senior officials increased, including by members of parliament. The chair of the National TV and Radio Council (NTRC) gave an interview stating that the TV channels should raise the standards of programming instead of broadcasting TV programs that “present the homosexual lifestyle as normal.”
Javid Nabiyev was denounced as a saboteur against the government and spy of the West because of his LGBTI activism. In 2015, he was obliged to escape from Azerbaijan to continue his LGBTI human rights work, in order to avoid being another victim of the political repression in Azerbaijan.
“To hold a LGBTI event and speak out in public in support of Nefes’s LGBTI human rights demands isn’t possible in Azerbaijan. Now I’m Germany as refugee. I cannot leave Germany or do something more. That’s why I’m calling on you for solidarity and to join the campaign which I launched under name Voice Of Silence. The campaign will continue between 22 – 28th January. Here are the possible activities which I want to advise you,” said Nabiyev:
The Azerbaijani criminal code does not address hate crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation. There is no adoption of a single definition of hate crimes across all criminal justice agencies, which would allow for the tracking of LGBTI hate crime cases at each stage of the criminal justice system, and for policymakers and the wider public to understand better the criminal justice response to those hate crimes. That’s why we are starting online letter campaign to urge the Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis) to enacts the following reforms:
· Adopt legislation that makes hate crime and hate speech specific offences or that provides enhanced penalties for any crimes committed with a bias motive;
· Amend the criminal code to address hate crime and hate speech based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
· Adopt an anti-discrimination law that criminalises discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Petition link: goo.gl/IiPn5m
Please tweet in support of the Azerbaijan LGBTI community and their demand for legal protection. Use the hashtag #vosazerbaijan
— MySoCalledGayLife (@mscgluk) January 10, 2017