Main | Monday, May 16, 2011

Peter Tatchell: Eurovision 2011 Winner Azerbaijan Isn't Safe For Gay People

The winning nation of the Eurovision Song Contest gets to host the event the following year, with gay fans of the contest often comprising one of the largest groups of tourists in attendance. Today noted British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell warns that this year's Eurovision winner, Azerbaijan, is an unsafe destination for gay people.
"Azerbaijan is not a welcoming or safe country for LGBT people. Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 2001, the LGBT community suffers police harassment and brutality, including bashings, blackmail, intimidation, bribery and invasions of privacy. LGBT people risk eviction from their homes and dismissal from their jobs. They have no legal protection against discrimination. Homophobic prejudice, threats and violence are systemic problems. The Eurovision organisers must seek guarantees from the Azerbaijani government that it will respect human rights, that visitors to next year's competition will not be victimised and that domestic and foreign media covering the event will be able to report freely, without harassment."

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