Azerbaijani LGBT group Nefes (LGBT AZ Alliance) have today launched their new campaign, “compete for equality”.
The campaign is being launched in advance of the 1st European Games, which are to be held in Baku in 2015 and are meant to raise awareness to the international community of the situation for LGBT community in Azerbaijan.
Among the names the group aimed to target were the European Parliament and the International Olympic Committee.
Nefes are hoping that their campaign will draw attention to the dire situation of LGBT individuals living in Azerbaijan, as well as other marginalised groups. The group are hoping to emulate on the success seen during the Sochi Winter Olympics, when multi-national protests brought LGBT rights in Russia into the attention of many people across the world.
While the eyes of the world are turned upon Baku for next year’s game it is expected that many groups will attempt to draw attention to themselves. Nefes are looking to exploit the additional attention directed at Baku to improve the lives of LGBT Azerbaijanis, many of whom face regular persecution and discrimination because of their sexual or gender identities.
News of the campaign came after several international and Azerbaijani groups called for a boycott of the European Games, citing Azerbaijan’s human rights record as reason not to cooperate with the South Caucasus regime. It is believed by some that by allowing Baku to host the games that European nations are legitimising the actions of President Aliyev and his government, who continue to persecute human rights and anti-government activists for their dissent.
For more information on the campaign and how you can support it please visit Nefes’ website.