Azerbaijan loses an LGBT human rights defender

Strasbourg – “I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the sudden death of Isa Sahmarli, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Free LGBT group (Azad LGBT), who took his own life on 22 January in Baku,” said Robert Biedron (Poland, SOC), General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Isa was only 20 years old, yet already an important LGBT rights defender in Azerbaijan, struggling against homophobia and intolerance in his society. Nevertheless, his final note proves that he was unable to endure the problems he must have experienced as an openly gay person.”

Mr Biedron added: “This loss exposes the situation of many young LGBT people in Europe who are facing social ostracism on grounds of sexual orientation. The anti-LGBT laws introduced or discussed in some European countries have led to acts of discrimination and violence, especially against young people. We should make every effort to stop this process and to uphold and protect the rights of LGBT people throughout Europe.”

Source – Parliamentary Assembly