Thursday, 27 August 2009

UN Human Rights Committee calls Azerbaijan to combat harassment of LGBT by state employees

I posted about this earlier. Now ILGA-Europe provides details on developments. Not that I think this will have any practical impact on Azeri government, but good to know that LGBT discrimination in Azerbaijan was discussed and noted in the UN.


August 09 EUROLETTER - ILGA-Europe

UN Human Rights Committee makes recommendation to Government of Azerbaijan to combat harassment of LGBT by state employees

by Beth Fernandez, ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Officer

From 20 to 21 July the UN Human Rights Committee considered the third periodic state report of Azerbaijan on meeting its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

ILGA-Europe together with Global Rights ( and Azeri LGBT organization, Gender and Development ( submitted a shadow report in respect of LGBT which can be found at . The joint report contained numerous cases of blackmail and harassment by the police of men having sex with men (MSM) and transgender sex workers in particular.

Once a State has signed the ICCPR, governments are required to provide a report on actions that it has taken, or plans to take, to implement and safeguard the rights contained in the treaty. The practice of shadow reporting provides an alternative source of information concerning state compliance. At the beginning of August the Human Rights Committee released its recommendations after consideration of the State report, shadow reports and other sources of information. With regard to Article 26 (Non Discrimination) the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern ‘at reports that individuals have been harassed by police and prison officials because of their sexual orientation’. It made the recommendation that ‘The State party should take measures in this respect by providing training activities to its law enforcement and penitentiary authorities and by elaborating a relevant Code of Conduct’.

This recommendation is an important recognition of the need for governmental action to tackle a serious human rights violation which Gender and Development have been documenting over the three years of their existence. It therefore constitutes an important advocacy tool which can be used by Gender and Development in persuading the Azeri Government of the need for tolerance programmes in state structures.

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