Statement on Pride Month: Our Fight is Just! 

As we mark Pride Month in June, this month, LGBTQI+ communities worldwide celebrate the achievements and resilience in our movements, while recognizing the ongoing challenges our communities face. Nafas stands in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community globally and we reaffirm our commitment to promoting equality, non-discrimination, and respect for the human rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

It is disheartening to witness that despite progress in many parts of the world, violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community persist in Azerbaijan. We are deeply concerned about bias-motivated speeches, especially by state officials and parliament members, that perpetuate harmful stereotypes, promote hate, and incite violence against the LGBTQI+ community. Such rhetoric undermines the principles of equality and human rights that are the foundation of any just and inclusive society.

Furthermore, we condemn all forms of hate crimes, threats, and attacks directed at our community, as well as against human rights defenders and activists advocating for their rights. These acts not only infringe upon the basic rights to life, liberty, and security but also undermine the principles of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and privacy that should be protected for all.

We call upon the Azerbaijani government, civil society organizations, and individuals to work together to eliminate discrimination, violence, and prejudice against the LGBTQI+ community in Azerbaijan. We urge state officials and parliament members to exercise their roles responsibly by promoting equality and inclusivity through their words and actions.

To our LGBTQI+ friends, wherever you are, we hope you hear us! We want to assure you that we stand by your side. We recognize the challenges you face daily, and we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive Azerbaijan where you can live authentically without fear of discrimination or violence.

This Pride Month, let us celebrate the progress our movement has made while acknowledging the work that remains ahead. Our fight is just, and as Nafas, will continue to champion the rights and dignity of the LGBTQI+ community in Azerbaijan, not only during Pride Month but every day of the year.

Let us unite in the pursuit of justice, equality, and respect for all in Azerbaijan. Together, we can build a society where diversity is celebrated, and each of us is free to embrace our authentic selves.

“Azerbaijani police must stop harassing LGBTI people and activists”

“Azerbaijani police must stop harassing LGBTI people and activists,” says PACE General Rapporteur.

“I am deeply concerned by new reports that LGBTI people and activists defending their rights in Azerbaijan have again been targeted by police officers,” said Christophe Lacroix (Belgium, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the rights of LGBTI persons, on May 31. “Following their protests against police behaviour towards them, several trans women were reportedly detained early last week, and the following day LGBTI activists demanding their release were also reportedly detained, ill-treated, humiliated and/or fined. These reports are deeply worrying, as are allegations that some of these individuals were subjected to forced medical tests,” he added.

“No one should ever be targeted on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or sex characteristics. Law-enforcement authorities in particular, instead of engaging in such practices, should be enforcing and protecting human rights for all. This is not the first time that we have received reports of harassment and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons and activists by the police in Azerbaijan, and the Assembly has already called on the authorities to investigate cases of wrongful arrest of LGBTI people and prevent and combat police violence against them,” Mr Lacroix said.

“I once again urge the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to these practices immediately and to conduct a full, effective and independent investigation into all allegations of abusive treatment of LGBTI persons and human rights defenders by the police,” he concluded.