LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Council of Europe call for investigation into raids in Azerbaijan

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for independent, effective investigation into police raids on gay and trans people in Azerbaijan. 

It is high time for other international institutions and bodies to join this call. 

Today (11 October 2017), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” which drew attention to far reaching issues and violations on human rights in the country. 

In response to recent news, an amendment to the resolution was included with an expression of concern regarding the recent police raids and arrests of gay and trans people in the country in recent weeks. This specific amendment was passed, with  90 votes in favour. 

Specifically, the adopted report states: "The Assembly is also concerned by the reported mass arrests of gay and transgender people and allegations of ill treatment by the police and calls for independent, effective investigations to be conducted into the actions of the police; the Assembly takes note of the release of these persons in the meantime."

As ILGA-Europe already reported, alarming stories of physical violence, verbal abuse, forced medical examinations and detentions of LGBTI people emerged from Azerbaijan several weeks ago. While all detainees have since been released, the situation is far from resolved and intergovernmental bodies and international institutions have an undeniable responsibility to speak out now, support the victims and ensure that the perpetrators do not get away with impunity. 

ILGA-Europe is pleased to see the Council of Europe leading the way in ensuring that the situation is not forgotten and that the conduct of the police and the Ministry of Interior is properly investigated. However, we are disappointed that other international institutions and intergovernmental bodies have yet to speak out about this atrocious state-sponsored violation of human rights. 

As such, ILGA-Europe continues to call on the EU, the UN and others to use their voice to condemn the raids on LGBTI people in Azerbaijan and ensure that a proper, independent investigation, including effective remedy for victims, is conducted and that full support to the victims is provided.