Responding to reports of recent crackdowns on the LGBT community in Azerbaijan, Molly said,

“The recent reports that members of the LGBT community in Azerbaijan are being targeted by the police and are facing arrest and torture is deeply worrying. This development is part of a much wider trend of systemic human rights abuses including imprisonment of political opponents and activists. Having met Azerbaijani political prisoners like Leyla Yunus I know how important it is for the international community to shine a light on these human rights violations. Right now, Azerbaijani activists are telling anyone who will listen that people are increasingly frightened as the number of arrests and reported cases of physical abuse have continued to increase in the last few weeks.

“This week the LGBT charity Stonewall reported cases of beatings, verbal abuse, forced medical examinations and of trans women having their heads forcibly shaved. This is deplorable. Today I stand in solidarity with all those who understand that love is a human right, that the state has no role in policing a person’s sexuality and that such violence and disregard for human rights is never an acceptable response. Equally, I reiterate civil society’s call on the British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, to urge the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately end the reported human rights abuses against the LGBT community.”

Azerbaijan is notorious for its poor treatment of LGBT people and has been ranked the worst country in Europe for LGBT rights violations.

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