Together with Sophie in 't Veld, Marietje Schaake today submitted the questions below to High Representative Federica Mogherini.
Reports suggest that over the past two weeks, dozens of people have been arrested, imprisoned and fined in Azerbaijan for "looking gay". According to LGBTI activists and lawyers based in the country members of the LGBTI community have reported being assaulted, forcibly medically examined, fined or forced to reveal contact details from their mobile phones by law enforcement officials.
- Is the HR/VP aware of this recent crackdown on the LGBTI community in Azerbaijan and will she call for a thorough and independent investigation of the human rights situation of LGBTI persons in Azerbaijan?
- Following the LGBTI Guidelines (1) what concrete actions will the HR/VP take to improve the human rights situation of LGBTI persons in Azerbaijan?
- The EU is currently negotiating a new Association Agreement with Azerbaijan; what effect will the developments described above, as well as the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan have on these negotiations and will the HR/VP consider freezing these negotiations?
(1) Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons (2013)
Please find the answer to the questions by the HR/VP below:
The EU regularly discusses and expresses its concerns about the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan, both publicly and directly with the Azerbaijani authorities, including during the meetings that President Tusk, President Juncker and High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini had with President Aliyev during his visit to Brussels on 6 February 2017.
The EU and Azerbaijan held on 16-17 October 2017 in Brussels the Justice, Freedom and Security, Human Rights and Democracy Subcommittee, which allowed both sides to take stock of the situation in Azerbaijan since the last Subcommittee meeting in October 2016, to assess progress made in all relevant areas and to explore ways to deepen EU-Azerbaijan cooperation. The meeting also offered the EU the opportunity to reiterate the importance of respecting human rights, including those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and the need for Azerbaijan to abide by the international commitments that it has subscribed to.
The EU is also supporting the civil society and respect of human rights in Azerbaijan, including the rights of LGBTI people.
The agreement that the EU is currently negotiating with Azerbaijan will include provisions on political issues, sectoral cooperation and trade. It will also include provisions, inter alia, on good governance, respect for rule of law, fundamental rights, fight against corruption and civil society cooperation.