ECOM presents “Legislative analysis related to LGBT rights and HIV in Azerbaijan”

The goal of this review is to identify the legal barriers for people living with HIV, gay men, other men who have sex with men and trans* people in exercising their rights in different areas.

In Azerbaijani society, it is not acceptable to speak and disclose information about one’s sexual life. There are no education programs on television or the radio, no public discussions on this topic in the media. Educational programs in public schools do not include sex education and no education materials for school children on this topic. The topic of homosexuality is not spoken about, and if it is mentioned in the media, any references to it have a negative connotation, which creates stereotypes about the abnormality of this kind of lifestyle that is seen as contradicting the norms accepted by society in Azerbaijan. As a result, issues such as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, same-sex marriage are not considered or discussed in society.

Disclosure of one’s homosexuality is considered as immoral by society. As a result, there is a negative attitude in society towards gay marriage and public gathering of LGBT communities. Since laws reflect public opinion on various issues, this also largely explains the fact that there are no references to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in national legislation. According to ILGA-Europe, Azerbaijan is the most homophobic country in Europe2, ranking last place in its 2016-2018 rating of 49 European countries.

 Facts:

  • Currently, the age of consent for sexual intercourse for both heterosexual and homosexual sex is 16 years old.
  • Foreign citizens and stateless persons are not required to provide a medical certificate in order to obtain visas.
  •  Foreign citizens and stateless persons are not issued permanent or temporary residence permits “if they are carriers of hepatitis B or C, or HIV”.
  •  There is no prohibition on the donation of blood by MSM in Azerbaijan.
  • Azerbaijan repealed its law on «sodomy» in 2000, however, current legislation does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  •  Same-sex marriages and other forms of unions (civil partnerships) cannot be registered and are not recognized by law.
  • Trans* people can change their legal sex through a court decision.
  • It is impossible to find open representatives of the LGBT community among public officials in Azerbaijan.

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