Commenting on the 2012 Eurovision contest being held in Azerbaijan, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said: Azerbaijan is not a welcoming or safe country for LGBT people.
Although homosexuality was decriminalized in 2001, the LGBT community suffers police harassment and brutality, including bashings, blackmail, intimidation, bribery and invasions of privacy. LGBT people risk eviction from their homes and dismissal from their jobs. They have no legal protection against discrimination. Homophobic prejudice, threats and violence are systemic problems.
Azerbaijan has a very poor human rights record on all fronts. It restricts religious and media freedom, suppresses peaceful protests, tortures political prisoners and jails opposition activists on trumped up charges. Earlier this month, Jabbar Savalanli, a member of the opposition Popular Front Party, was jailed for two and a half years on bogus drug charges.
Nine journalists and bloggers are currently in prison for expressing dissenting opinions, said Mr Tatchell.
For background information about LGBT and other human rights violations in Azerbaijan, see these reports:
International Lesbian and Gay Association http://www.tiny.cc/ro8r1
Amnesty International http://www.tiny.cc/ua7nt
For further information write to: