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AGLA NY statement against “propaganda” law proposal

AGLA NY, 2011The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York is alarmed that in August 2013 the Armenian police proposed a ban on “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships”, which would effectively target LGBT people in Armenia with prejudice. We call for the President, Prime Minister, and Parliament to strike down any further attempts to legislate discrimination against LGBT Armenians.

After the DIY bar bombing and attack on a cultural diversity march in Yerevan in May of 2012, it was clear that intervention was needed to guarantee human rights. But little has been done. Some LGBT Armenians, productive members of society, have been forced to leave Armenia after the events of last May in order to escape threats to their lives. The DIY firebombers have been sentenced with little more than a slap on the wrist. Recent violent threats against organizations that work for gender equality indicate the need for more protection, not persecution.

The police proposed Article 47.7 to the Administrative Violations Code, which threatened the civil rights of LGBT people and any individual or organization who would discuss LGBT issues in public. Though the bill was withdrawn, it seems it was only because it was poorly drafted, suggesting the motivation was merely an expression by the police of prejudice. The fact that the wording of the bill echoes legislation in Russia is even more disturbing, given the levels of violence waged against LGBT people there since its passage. Now that Armenia has signed on to a Customs Union with Russia, it seems the situation is dire, and that continuing emulation of Russian laws will follow.

AGLA NY and members of the Diaspora have been watching signs of human rights violations in Armenia with growing concern. We now ask the government to follow its own constitution in guaranteeing the rights of all its citizens by taking a stand against any future attempts to legislate against LGBT people.