Saturday, 25 June 2011

Police violence against LGBT persons in Azerbaijan - Council of Europe report

In Azerbaijan during 2009 police raided bars which LGBT persons visit and arrested almost 50 people. Police reportedly held the individuals and threatened to expose their sexual orientation publicly unless they paid a bribe. A film documentary from Azerbaijan in which several people testify about their experiences also points to such incidents of blackmail.

UN treaty bodies and UN special rapporteurs have, in relation to Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Turkey, urged these states to end acts of violence and harassment by the police against LGBT persons. In some instances LGBT human rights defenders have been a target of such harassment and violence. The UN Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders pointed out in 2007 that “In numerous cases ... police or government officials are the alleged perpetrators of violence and threats against defenders of LGBTI rights. In several of these cases ... police officers have, allegedly, beaten up or even sexually abused these defenders of LGBTI rights.” The Special Representative reminded states of their responsibility for protecting defenders against violence and threats.

*Read also: Groundbreaking Council of Europe report issues ‘red cards’ to many member states, incl. Armenia, for failing gay rights

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