According to a rating released by the European branch of the International lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex association, Azerbaijan is the most intolerant country in Europe as concerns attitudes towards sexual minorities.
Azerbaijan was rated 49th and last on the list, following behind Russia (48th) and Armenia (47th). Great Britain was identified as the most tolerant of all countries covered by the survey. Belgium and Malta followed second and third, reported contact.az
“One common denominator [between] Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia [is that they] all want to distance themselves from the west and the LGBTI struggle has been at the centre of that,” said a representative of ILGA – Europe Bjorn van Rosendal.
The organization noted that sexual minorities in Azerbaijan are the least protected from hate crimes, despite the fact that homosexuality has been decriminalized in the country since 2000.
In 2014, gay rights activist Isa Sahmarli – aged 20 at the time – committed suicide, after leaving a public note on his Facebook explaining: “This country and this world are not for me. I will be happy now. Tell my mother I loved her very much… This world is not colorful enough for my colors. Farewell.” Sahmarli was the founder of AZAD lgbt — an organization that fought for the rights of gays and lesbians in Azerbaijan. His tragic death was marginally reported on in Azerbaijani mass media.