European Parliament condemns oppression of LGBT people in Azerbaijan

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The European Parliament has voted to condemn the oppression of LGBT people in Azerbaijan.

The Parliament passed a motion last week condemning the “intimidation and repression” of LGBTI people, and those defending their rights.

Homosexuality has been legal in Azerbaijan since 2000, but LGBT people and activists in the country still face routine and systematic oppression.

Following a spate of homophobic incidents in the country, the European Parliament adopted a motion voicing concern about “hate speech” against LGBTI people.

It reads: “[The European Parliament] is extremely concerned over the situation of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan

“[Parliament] strongly condemns political hate speech against LGBTI people coming from the highest levels

“[Parliament] calls on the Azerbaijani government to stop obstructing and intimidating human rights defenders working for the rights of LGBTI people.

“It underlines the importance of serious and mutually respectful dialogue between the EU and the government of Azerbaijan, the opposition forces and civil society.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, said: “Over the last year, at least 3 LGBTI persons were killed with trans-/homophobic motives, which is unfortunately no wonder in a context where inflammatory speech against LGBTI people comes from the highest levels, including politicians.

“It is time that the government stops persecuting those with whom it should be cooperating to create a better and respectful country.”

Tanja Fajon MEP and Kati Piri MEP, Vice-President and Member of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights said: “The crackdown on LGBTI civil society is part of a wider systematic crackdown on civil society, which is beyond imagination: Nearly one hundred political prisoners, and continuous intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders.

“It is time to seriously address this crackdown and we call on the High Representative, the Commission and the Council to address this at the highest possible level, including through the human rights dialogue and a stop of the negotiations on the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Azerbaijan if things do not improve.”