Azerbaijan has been ranked the worst place to live in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) citizens, after meeting only 5 percent of a leading rights organization’s criteria for legal equality.
The ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index, released on May 10, ranks 49 European countries according to the laws, policies, and practices that affect LGBTI communities.
The countries with the three lowest scores are all post-Soviet: Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan. The countries leading the index -- Malta, Belgium, and the United Kingdom -- all scored above 80 percent.
Although homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, the 2016 index draws attention to the country’s failure to protect its LGBTI community from hate crime and discrimination.
The index attributes Azerbaijan's low score to the high number of homophobic and transphobic violent attacks, as well as discriminatory remarks made by political figures.