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Oct 17, 2007 News: Situation of Gay People in Georgia and Azerbaijan
By Sven Rabatzky

(EU) - Georgia and Azerbaijan must stop discrimination and incitement to hatred and put in place an inclusive anti-discrimination law in line with Council of Europe and EU standards if they aspire to EU membership. This is according to the joint ILGA-Europe and COC Netherlands reports on the position of Gay people in the two South Caucasian countries. The comprehensive reports are the result of a joint fact-finding mission and reflect the vulnerable social and legal situation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders. They also reflect the position of national authorities and international organisations. Finally, the reports give a particular focus to lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people and give examples of human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The reports seek to raise awareness of European and international organisations, put pressure for positive change on national governments and encourage donors to support LGBT organising in these countries.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“The reports illustrate the vulnerable position of LGBT communities and the systematic nature of human rights violations against them. This situation runs against Georgia and Azerbaijan’s obligations under the European Convention for Human Rights and against European Union laws and values these countries have to respect if they aspire to EU membership in the future”.

Frank van Dalen, President of COC Netherlands, said:

“Upon completion of the fact-finding mission to South Caucasus, COC Netherlands with ILGA-Europe and other partners has started a five-year project aimed at strengthening LGBT movements in the Newly Independent States and prevention of HIV/AIDS in this community. First results give very positive hopes: where there has been hardly any movement before now there are strong, registered NGOs advocating for human rights and social equality and providing a range of services for the community”.

The reports on Georgia and Azerbaijan are available on the website of ILGA Europe.

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