Activists talk: Karine Aghajanyan


Our next Pride Month activism campaign participant is Karine Aghajanyan, the current chairperson of Pink human rights defender NGO.

Karine has been engaged in activism since 2010. The homicide of Zaruhi Petrosyan was the driving force for Karine to get involved in activism. Zaruhi Petrosyan has been subjected to domestic violence by her husband and mother-in-law for years. The case of her homicide raised a great noise among the public and activists. Karine reacted strongly when she learned about the incident from the news and her friends. She and Zaruhi were of the same age at that time. When Karine thought she could have been Zaruhi, she understood that such cases should be appropriately responded to and raised about domestic violence to solve them. At that time, the RA law on domestic violence did not exist, which worried activists. As a result, various activists, including Karine, began actively advocating for women’s rights and working towards creating a law on domestic violence, thanks to which women in Armenia would be protected from domestic violence.

When Karine took part in protests with various activists, during which she got acquainted with multiple sympathetic people, she understood that this problem concerns many people. “That incident shook everyone’s inner world. If any woman in the society is endangered, then it is necessary to speak about it”, mentions Karine in her speech. Karine’s activist path began after this incident.

After participating in the protests, Karine desired to get to know the organizations in the field more closely, and she was later involved in the Women’s Resource Center as a volunteer. During that period, Karine participated in protests and organized events to raise awareness about women’s rights. Karine’s transition from women’s rights activist to Pink human rights defender NGO was smooth. She notes that this transition was inevitable because every issue of women’s rights also applies to all women having other social identities, including lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, non-binary and other sexual orientations or gender identities. Naturally, the problems of women belonging to other social groups also worried her.

Karine’s motivation for activism stems from her intolerance of injustice. When she learns about any unjust case, she wants to fight against it in a way that corresponds to her values and capabilities. “Any injustice motivates me to stop it or speak out about it,” notes Karine.

Karine describes her imagined activist vision as a world where people love and respect each other and, most importantly, can control their thoughts. In this regard, Karine states in her speech: “It is difficult to control our attitude towards other people, but it is elementary to control one’s thoughts. As we meet many people daily, we may show them certain attitudes uncontrollably. Still, by controlling our thoughts, we can also control our attitude toward those people; as a result, people in that imaginary world will respect, love, and treat each other well”.

Karine does not associate fighting against injustice only with activism because, according to her, every person can fight against injustice, supporting those who need to be protected.