Ilham Aliyev: ‘Situation with freedoms doesn’t differ from situation which exists in your country.’ This answer doesn’t reflect the truth of Azerbaijan which is on 46th place out of 47 Council of Europe member countries regarding LGBT rights.
We are very glad that ‘President, answer’ campaign held by Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan was implemented successfully in European Parliament. Tha purpose of campaign was to call attention to fundamental LGBT rights and to know what the head of state thinks about this. ILGA Europe and other many MPs supported this initiative.
President Ilham Aliyev unexpectedly was asked question about LGBT issue by member of Norwegian Labor Party Mrs. Lise Christoffersen. The question was about ‘Do you recognize LGBT rights as a part of fundamental human rights and if yes what will the republic of Azerbaijan do to secure LGBT rights and their freedom’. Mr. President informed that all human rights are provided in Azerbaijan and there are no restrictions. ‘Situation with freedoms doesn’t differ from situation which exists in your country.’
Of course, we aren’t agree with this. In the light of general human rights the situation with LGBT rights is obvious and one cannot compare it with that of Norway. Azerbaijan is on the 46th place out of 47 country in European Council. Furthermore, Mr. President restrained from using the word ‘LGBT’, which shows to which extent he is tolerant towards LGBT people. Now it is irrelevant to talk about same-sex marriages. We can’t talk about equal human rights if homosexuality is still treated as disease in educational settings, LGBT people are forced and raped by police, by their peers in army and in correction facilities, there is not even laws against hate crimes.
To remind that, recently member of National Assembly, member of Political Council of leading party Malahat Hasanova said that ‘our state and our society has its own atitude on this issue… that is, recognizing of rights of sexual minorities is unacceptable for us.’ On the other hand, Ministry of Justice doesn’t aprrove our registration, despite the fact that we have already tried it twice. These factors don’t verify Mr. President’s answer.
Recent pressures on civil-rights defenders, journalists, bloggers concerns me too. Our campaign in European Parlaiment and this unexpected question will not be met as a good news in upper circles. Pressures will increase on me and members of our organization. We hope that, officials will percieve our criticism as a manifestation of freedom of opinion and will consider it in their long-term social reforms.