August 3 is the National Day for LGBT+ Human Rights Protection


In 2020, Pink human rights defender NGO decided to mark the decades-long struggle for the equality of LGBT+ people by declaring August 3 as the National day to fight for LGBT+ rights. In 2023, on August 3, the organization celebrates the day for the fourth time. The day was initially named as mentioned above, but due to the feedback from the community, this year, Pink decided to rename the day to National Day for LGBT+ Human Rights Protection.

The day symbolizes the long-term fight against discrimination against LGBT+ people, in which both Pink and other human rights defender organizations operating in Armenia have been participating for years, conducting various events, including discussions and meetings with representatives of the police, deputies, and other state bodies, as well as organizing public and online campaigns aimed at raising public awareness about LGBT+ people.

Indeed, National Day for LGBT+ Human Rights Protection has a pre-history. On August 3, 2018, in the Shurnukh community in the Syunik region, nine young people, including LGBT+ activists, were attacked by more than 20 people because of their actual or alleged sexual orientation and gender identity. The preliminary investigation is still ongoing, and no charges have been filed. This case was the reason for declaring the National Day for LGBT+ human rights protection.

Pink annually records considerable cases of hate crimes and other offenses based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite the widespread nature of the cases, LGBT+ people generally avoid turning to law enforcement bodies to restore their violated rights or to hold offenders accountable. The main reason for avoiding contacting law enforcement bodies is that LGBT+ people often do not trust the police and think that their rights will not be restored. In practice, it has been repeatedly proven that cases of hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are either dismissed or prolonged by the police or are not processed properly.

There were cases when the police persecuted or mocked the beneficiaries. It turns out that the inaccessibility of justice and double victimization, ridicule and the stigma of discrimination are the basis for LGBT+ people to lose trust in the police, because of which, in many cases, LGBT+ people do not even report to the police.

To reduce cases of discrimination against LGBT+ people, the state must fulfill its international obligations by adopting separate comprehensive legislation that establishes civil, administrative and criminal liability preventing and prohibiting discrimination, which will ensure the right of a person to be protected from discrimination also based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In this regard, the state’s obligations include revising the RA legislation prohibiting hate crimes and promoting tolerance and equality among the employees of state bodies, the police and investigative bodies.

As a result of this long-term struggle, Pink NGO hopes to have a society where the rights of all people are equally protected, and everyone is free regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.