Azerbaijan named most anti-LGBT+ country in Europe

Campaign group analyses laws and policies across 49 nations in new ranking

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 14 May 2019 12:55 BST
Five most anti-LGBT+ countries in Europe, according to ILGA-Europe

Azerbaijan is the worst place to be gay in Europe, according to LGBT+ rights group ILGA-Europe.

The campaigners ranked countries along a scale, in which zero indicated gross human rights abuses and 100 per cent represented the greatest degree of equality.

Now in its 10th year, the ranking analysed laws and policies governing LGBT+ matters across 49 European countries over the past 12 months.

Marks were given across 69 individual categories, such as employment rights and marriage equality.

Azerbaijan scored just 3 per cent in the survey, while Turkey and Armenia were awarded 5 per cent and 7 per cent each.

In 2017 reports emerged of an alleged crackdown on LGBT+ people in Azerbaijan.

Human rights groups condemned news of mass arrests and abuses and urged authorities to release those who were jailed.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has responded to criticism by activists in the past by claiming that such raids are not a specific attack on LGBT+ people but instead a crackdown on prostitution.

The countries that did well in ILGA’s ranking include Malta, which came first with 90 per cent.

Belgium and Luxembourg were ranked as the second and third best European countries for LGBT+ rights.

“Those countries that continue to do really well and go up are those that ... clicked quite some time ago that the agenda was more than marriage equality,” said Evelyne Paradis, the campaign group’s executive director.

Due to a shift in the number of categories included in the survey, several countries that had formerly been seen as leaders of LGBT+ equality, such as the UK, saw their overall percentages slip between 2018 and 2019.

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Last year, Britain scored 73 per cent and was ranked equal with Finland and France at fourth.

The UK fell to 66 per cent in the 2019 index, tied at seventh with Portugal.

Additional reporting by agencies

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