UN officials have condemned the recent mass arrests of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Indonesia, saying that the countries’ authorities violated international law by detaining, mistreating and torturing them.
About 80 people in Azerbaijan, 50 in Egypt and 50 in Indonesia countries were arrested, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said.
Authorities in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, detained more than 80 people in a month, reportedly subjecting some of them to beatings, electric shocks and forced shaving, he said.
Authorities said the arrests were part of a crackdown on prostitution, but lawyers denied they were sex workers.
In Egypt, more than 50 people have been arrested in recent weeks based on their assumed sexual orientation, including two men who were arrested for waving a rainbow flag during a concert, Colville said.
“In some cases, individuals were reportedly arrested after being entrapped by law enforcement officials on apps and in internet chat rooms,” Mr Colville said.
In Indonesia, more than 50 people were arrested at a “gay sauna” in Jakarta. While most have been released, four men and one woman were charged under Indonesia’s “vague” anti-pornography laws, he said.
Colville said “any arrest based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is by definition arbitrary and violates international law.”
“Those who have been arbitrarily detained and subjected to these abuses should be afforded an effective remedy, including reparations,” he said.
“Allegations of torture and ill-treatment should be promptly and thoroughly investigated; and, if convicted, alleged perpetrators punished.”
The UN has received allegations that some were subjected to electric shocks, beatings, forced shaving and other forms of humiliation to force them to incriminate themselves before being released, Mr Colville said.
There was no immediate comment from authorities in the capital Baku.
“In all three countries, authorities have alleged that those arrested were involved in sex work,” Mr Colville said.
“In almost all cases the accused have denied such allegations or indicated that they were coerced into confessing involvement.”
He called for the release of people detained on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and for authorities to drop charges based on vague or discriminatory laws, and to repeal such legislation.
(Photo by Eborutta/Wikimedia Commons)