EUROPEAN THEATER

LGBT Activist Peter Tatchell: Azerbaijan Has No Business Hosting “Campy” Eurovision Song Contest

It’s not just Iran that’s ticked off at Azerbaijan for hosting the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Veteran gay-rights advocate Peter Tatchell says the country’s record on LGBT and human rights is too shoddy for it to be home to such a “glitz, camp and kitsch” affair as Eurovision.

Tatchell said in a statement to the press:

“Eurovision is renowned for its glitz, camp and kitsch. It has a huge gay following, yet Azerbaijan is often not a welcoming or safe country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people… The reality is that Azerbaijan has a very poor human rights record on all fronts. It restricts religious and media freedom, suppresses peaceful protests, tortures political prisoners and jails journalists and opposition activists on trumped up charges. The Baku government’s human rights record has been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Council of Europe.”

The Eurovision finals take place Saturday in the capital city of Baku, with millions worldwide watching the proceedings on television.