A campaign against homophobia will be held during Baku European Games

Baku is hosting First European Games in June, 2015. Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance in collaboration with Free LGBT will hold “Compete for Equality” campaign during this event, reports Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance.

The target group of this campaign is European Parliament, International Olympic Committee, ILGA World and ILGA Europe, Olympic Committees and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of European Council member states, and international organizations working with human rights. Of course, holding this campaign doesn’t mean the cancellation of Baku European Games. The goal is to draw the attention of Europe and the world to the current situation of homophobia and fundamental human and LGBT rights in Azerbaijan, as well as achieving the needed action from the government for improving the current situation in the country. During this campaign, the logo of First European games will be used in rainbow colors in order to achieve the main goal.

As a result of All Out’s campaign, International Olympic Committee will add some changes to the rules about holding the Games. As the Committee promised, “Paragraph 6 – Against discrimination” will be added to the agreement with the host country. According to the new rules, countries that host Olympic Games will not discriminate any group. The Committee emphasizes that LGBT individuals are also included to this group.

Constantly growing number of arrests, limiting the freedom of expression and thought, not recognized fundamental human and LGBT rights, growing hate of community, media and government are all signaling the existence of this real problem.

In 2014 Azerbaijan took the 48th place on International Lesbian Gay Association Europe’s (ILGA Europe) list of countries by situation of LGBT rights. Azerbaijan is only ahead of Russia on this list, and it’s considered to be one of the dangerous places for LGBT individuals. Although Azerbaijan is a member of Council of Europe and Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijani government is failing to fulfill any of the obligations about LGBT rights that were undertaken. There were no legislative acts or even laws about hate crime have not been adopted up until now.

Of course, most of the population in Azerbaijan is Muslims. But we have to consider that according to the Constitution, the Government and Religion are separate, and everyone is equal before the law. Despite this, several requests of Nefes LGBT about registering as an NGO got turned down. Also, during this year, 3 deputies of the Parliament have stated to the media that LGBT rights could never be recognized in Azerbaijan. All this shows that homophobia is on the government level in Azerbaijan. Also, hate calls occurred numerous times on media by journalists and government officials.