Stonewall is extremely concerned by recent reports that LGBT people are being arrested and tortured in Azerbaijan.
Local activists report that LGBT people have been arrested in the past couple of weeks, as part of organised raids in the country’s capital, Baku.
The authorities claim the arrests have been made as part of a crackdown on prostitution, but activists say LGBT people have been specifically targeted.
Victims report being subject to beatings, verbal abuse and forced medical examinations. Trans women have had their heads forcibly shaven.
It is difficult to assess the scale of the crackdown, as many victims have been arrested multiple times and others are afraid to speak out due to fear of reprisal.
Azerbaijan is notorious for its poor treatment of LGBT people, and has been ranked the worst country in Europe for LGBT rights violations.
Many victims have been released only after giving up details, under duress, of fellow LGBT people to the police, who have in turn been targeted.
Dozens remain in detention. Local groups are working to raise funds to cover legal costs, as many of the victims do not have access to lawyers.
Javid Nabiyev, President of Nefes, LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, told us:
Right now our community needs support.
We don’t want to see a second Chechnya in Azerbaijan!
Please show solidarity with our community to show we are not alone.
We’ve contacted the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ask them to urge the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately end the reported human rights abuses against the LGBT community.
How can you show solidarity with LGBT people facing atrocities in Azerbaijan?