Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Susan Collins (R-ME) today called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to investigate news reports that authorities have conducted raids and detained people in Azerbaijan because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Recent news reports indicate raids were conducted in September in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, where authorities detained more than 50 gay and transgender people.

“We write to share our concerns about press reports that Azerbaijani authorities have detained dozens of gay and transgender persons simply because they are gay or transgender,” states the senators’ letter. “We urge you to investigate these reports and, if they are credible, to publicly condemn these actions in the strongest terms and to push for perpetrators to be held accountable.”

The senators wrote that the United States’ partnership with Azerbaijan is important in part because of the country’s location between Russia and Iran, but that these reported human rights violations cannot go unaddressed.

“Indeed, U.S. foreign policy must promote both our values and our interests and any notion that the two are mutually exclusive is a false choice,” the senators continued.