Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan News | LGBTQ+ & Women

Azerbaijan capital hosts virtual festivals showcasing LGBTQ+ artists and filmmakers

  • The two-week Queer Art Festival brought together local artists over the theme “Queer x Azerbaijan – My Body, My Identity, My Heritage,” exploring queer and feminist issues in a landscape historically inhospitable to both.
  • In-Visible presents international queer films and educational workshops organized by Salaam Cinema, an independent cultural space in Baku and community for Azerbaijani artists and filmmakers.
  • Locked out of the government-funded arts system, queer artists in Azerbaijan depend on a network of activist organizations as well as the support of international organizations and foreign embassies.


Two festivals bring queer art to Azerbaijani audiences” (Eurasanet | February 2021)

Moving In—Moving On (Trans Europe Halles | 2020)

Azerbaijani artists win fight to save a prayer house-turned-cinema from demolition” (Global Voices | July 2019)


Queer Art Festival Baku 2020

Salaam Cinema Baku

Azerbaijan News | LGBT

Azerbaijan launches offensive against LGBT citizens
  • Dozens were arrested and charged with “resisting police orders” in September according to community activists in the country.
  • A state spokesman denied the raids targeted sexual minorities but rather those who “show a lack of respect”, “annoy citizens,” and whom authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.
  • The government has framed targeting the LGBT community as protecting community health and defending the “traditional” and “moral” values of Azerbaijan against Western attack, tying the LGBT community to Western encroachment.

Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer” (EurasiaNet | September 2017)

Gay men and trans women were suddenly rounded up in Azerbaijan. Here’s why.” (The Washington Post | October 2017)

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:


Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Azerbaijan News | Activists & Dissidents

Human rights lawyer freed as Azerbaijan continues amnesties
  • Intigam Aliyev, an Azeri human rights advocate, had his 7.5-year prison sentence commuted to five years of probation after serving a year in jail.
  • Aliyev had been convicted of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, and abuse of office.
  • President Ilham Aliyev, unrelated, pardoned nearly 150 prisoners this month, including political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, while Amnesty International says seven remain imprisoned.

Read more:
Azerbaijan frees human rights advocate from jail” (Reuters)
Prominent Azerbaijani Lawyer To Be Released From Prison” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Azerbaijan frees prominent right activist” (AFP via GlobalPost)

(Image Credit: via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Azerbaijan News | Dissident Seniors

Senior Azerbaijani rights activists sentenced to prison terms despite ailing health
  • Leyla Yunus, 59, and her husband Arif, 60, were sentenced to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively, after on charges including tax fraud, illegal entrepreneurship, and treason.
  • Rights advocates argue that the couple were targeted for their human rights advocacy, with numerous other activists and journalists having been recently imprisoned as well.
  • The Yunuses suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and kidney problems, worrying family and friends about their health prospects while incarcerated.

“If there were irregularities in [the] way Yunus ran her groups, the government could have pursued them through noncriminal measures. … But instead the authorities arrested them and went directly to criminal charges, despite their age and ill health.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)

Muslim Azerbaijani athletes receive waiver for Ramadan as they compete in the European Games
  • Azerbaijan, a predominantly Shia Muslim country, has 285 athletes competing in the Games, which the country is hosting.
  • Local clerics issued a fatwa excusing athletes from the period of abstention from food, drink, and sex during daylight hours.
  • The Games have brought unwanted negative attention to Azerbaijan, where political dissidents have faced aggressive crackdowns and rights violations.

“To make sure that the valiant Islamic sportsman is stronger than his competitor in the month of Ramadan, he cannot observe oruj [fast]. … To defeat a competitor on a sports field, to defend the honor of your country and raise the flag of your homeland is important and pleases God.”

Read the full story at EurasiaNet.