Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen has been announced as a headliner for the Sydney Mardi Gras party, Mardigrasland.

The Swedish pop star, known for her European chart-dominating hit Euphoria, is also a passionate human rights activist who controversially met with Azerbaijan activists during the country’s hosting duties of Eurovision 2012, and voiced support for the cancelled Belgrade Pride in 2012.

“Human rights are violated in Azerbaijan every day. One should not be silent about such things,” she said during the song contest last year.

“I have a great respect for [Eurovision], which is one thing, but an even greater respect for human rights,” she told the Star Observer of her decision to speak out during the contest.

The Moroccan-born singer also performed for Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko – who once famously said it was “better to be a dictator than gay” – at a government-sanctioned music festival in 2012, before meeting with some of that country’s human activists and issuing a statement in support of Belarusian political prisoners. She said she naturally felt fear about speaking out in the dangerous political climate.

“Yes, I was afraid… [but] you have to motivate yourself to not give in to your own fears,” she said.

She also had a message for Australian politicians who continue to deny gay men and women the right to marry in this country.

“My advice to those politicians is to take control over their fears and reach out [in] acceptance. People have to be able to love anyone the want,” she said.

Loreen joins Heather Small (M People), Delta Goodrem, The Presets and DJ Crystal Pepsi (AKA Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters) in the Mardigrasland line-up.

First release members and general entry tickets have sold out but remaining tickets to Mardigrasland are now on sale through Ticketek.

Mardigrasland is on Saturday, March 2 at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park.

Find out more about the Mardigrasland experience here.

INFO: www.mardigras.org.au

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