On the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia the discussion on the human rights situation of LGBT people took place


May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia which emphasizes the importance of united efforts and fights of LGBT people, activists and other stakeholders to raise the human rights violations towards LGBT people and to create an inclusive society without discrimination, hatred and intolerance.

Along with the message of the day, the roundtable discussion on “The human rights situation of LGBT people in Armenia”, was held by Pink human rights defender non-governmental organization on May 17. The event aimed to discuss with the attendees the possibilities and existing obstacles of the effective investigation of the cases of discrimination and other human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Human rights defenders and LGBT people as well as the representatives of international agencies, embassies, and state bodies, including the representatives of the Human rights defender’s Office RA Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs and Health participated in the discussion.

Karine Aghajanyan, the Chairperson of Pink human rights defender NGO, launched the event with the opening speech highlighting the importance of the cooperation for achieving the protection of the human rights of LGBT people. The continuous cooperation with the Human Rights Defender’s office over the previous years was particularly important, outcome of which was a separate chapter dedicated to the human rights of LGBT people. Considering the initial steps in starting the cooperation with the state agencies, support from LGBT people, civil society and international partners is indispensable for human rights organizations to advocate for the protection of human rights of LGBT people.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia Anahit Manasyan had an opening remark during the event, stating the importance of reducing the level of intolerance in the society. She also highlighted that to achieve the goal, it is important that the human rights of LGBT people are not left out of the margin of attention. She emphasized the importance of increasing the state representatives’ sensitive approaches of various agencies to ensure human rights protection and to build tolerance.

The Honorable Ambassadors of Sweden also gave their opening remarks during the panel. The Ambassador Patrik Svensson congratulated Armenia on improving its position in the ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map regarding legislative developments in the field of LGBT human rights and reaffirmed the Sweden’s position on prioritizing the human rights of LGBT people, including within the framework of supporting Armenia. In her speech, the Ambassador of the United States of America Kristina Kvien mentioned that the USA always supports the human rights protection, including the human rights of LGBT people, and expressed her support to the organizations and activists, engaged in the protection of human rights in Armenia.

The roundtable discussion was continued with the presentation of “The Human Rights Situation of LGBT people in Armenia During 2023” annual report which summarizes the documented discrimination cases of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, monitoring observations of the hate speech during 2023.

The organization’s attorneys presented the existing legal regulations and the practice of implementation in relation to the specific cases, mentioned about the gaps during the investigation of hate crimes, the biased approaches of law enforcement representatives towards the victims. It was specifically highlighted the human rights violations towards LGBT people by the representatives of the state agencies and the importance of the state response towards those cases to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future as a part of the guarantee of the implementation of the state’s responsibilities.

The attorneys summarized the documented discrimination cases of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression which were observed in various fields: education, labor, armed forces, family, public spaces, and other areas. Pink’s social worker also mentioned about the cases of domestic violence towards LGBT people, the issues that beneficiaries face to access the protection from the state. It is worth mentioning that more than half of the documented cases were cases of domestic violence. However, not all the victims feel safe to report to the law enforcement, because they don’t trust that the report to the police will stop the violence.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the discussion of the monitoring results of hate speech and observed cases. After briefly presenting the existing legal regulations on hate speech, the two cases which were accompanied by hatred in 2023 were discussed. Those were the grievous cases of the murder of a trans woman and suicide of a young gay man. The neglecting position of the state towards the occurred cases and publicly widespread hatred towards LGBT people afterwards was considered as problematic because it was normalizing the committed crimes and was promoting the atmosphere of impunity.

The discussion ended with the questions and Pink’s recommendations addressed to the state agencies, media, human rights defender’s office, and international institutions.