“This year, we have seen violence become more and more planned and deadly, making LGBTI people feel unsafe in countries across Europe.”
LGBTQI+ umbrella organisation, ILGA-Europe, announced that in 2022, hatred against LGBTQI+ across the region has reached the stage of life and death.
Launched today in Brussels, ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe and Central Asia finds that 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTQI+ individuals across the region in the past decade, both through planned, ferocious attacks and through suicides in the wake of rising and widespread hate speech from politicians, religious leaders, right-wing organisations and media pundits.
“Hate speech translates into physical violence”
According to the report, attacks on LGBTQI+s with a conscious and deliberate will to kill and injure have increased to unprecedented levels, including two terror attacks outside LGBTQI+ bars in Norway and Slovakia, which combined killed four people and maimed 22.
According to ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis: “At ILGA-Europe, we have been saying for years now that hate speech in all its forms translates into actual physical violence. This year, we have seen that violence become increasingly planned and deadly, leaving LGBTI people feeling unsafe in countries across Europe. We have seen proof that anti-LGBTI hate speech is not just the words of marginal leaders or would-be autocrats, but a real problem with dire consequences for people and communities. This phenomenon is not only in countries where hate speech is rife, but also in countries where it is widely believed that LGBTI people are progressively accepted.”
Azerbaijan: Calls for systemic hatred, murder of Avaz Hafizli
The report on Azerbaijan includes some noteworthy information. It was prepared with the direct participation of Minority Azerbaijan, Nafas LGBTI Azerbaijan Alliance, and Queerdian organisations. The report highlights the systematic hate speech of MPs in the country.
Last year, Avaz Hafizli, an LGBTQI+ rights activist and journalist, was murdered after Sevinj Huseynova, an Azerbaijani social media influencer, called for the physical “erasure” of sexual minorities and trans people in an Instagram video that was watched by thousands of people. This incident was included in the report.
In August 2022, the court sentenced the criminal to nine and a half years in prison, but ignored the homophobic motive and brutality of the murder. LGBTQI+ activists and journalists were not allowed to enter the courtroom. The meagre trial given to the murderer was strongly criticised by LGBTQI+ organisations and civil society.
You can read the English version of the report here.