Mamikon Hovsepyan received the Bob Hepple Equality Award

On October 4, in London, Pink Armenia’s founder and CEO received the Bob Hepple Equality Award that is granted by the British “Equal Rights Trust”. The award is conferred to those who fight against discrimination and promote equality in the world.

Below we present Hovsepyan’s speech at the award ceremony.

“I want to thank you for being here and showing your support. Thanks to Equal Rights Trust for initiating this award, for highlighting the work of activists in the world, also thanks to those who recognized my work, and thanks to Human Rights House Foundation for nominating me and for cooperation with me and other prominent human rights defenders in Armenia.

Armenia has such a great potential to become one of the best countries in the world where human rights are protected, where everybody enjoys equality and harmony, where discrimination has no place. Unfortunately it is not there yet, still the government cannot see the benefits of equality, still the regime terrifies people if they raise social, political or other issues, still the system use oppressions against its citizens. Human rights defenders, LGBT people, feminists, human right activists and other minorities are still being called “enemies of nation”.

We are being discussed in local media as a threat for nation. 10 years ago it was hard for me to see my picture and name in a newspaper where I was presented as a “danger” but later it became a usual thing for me and I started to take it easy. It is important for me that I am not alone in the fight for justice. I am proud to work with a group of strong and brave people at PINK Armenia. We know how to escape the troubles, we know how to solve the problems, we know how to make others smile and we know how to joke or laugh, even when we have a hard time.

I am so proud to have friends who are feminists, environmental activists, people who work on disability issues or HIV issues, and those who simply support different causes focused on equal rights. It is powerful to have allies like them who never leaves me alone. I am touched that my work with PINK Armenia has been noticed. It makes us stronger and prouder of the work we do. This award encourages me in my fight as an activist to continue empowering others to join the frontline and make the world a better place for everyone. I am sure we can change this world together and make it safer by touching people’s hearts, changing minds and sharing our own stories about acceptance and equality.”