On May 15th, we presented our 3 new reports at the Human Rights House Yerevan event, which was organized in the framework of IDAHOT week, ahead of May 17th, which is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
The following reports were presented at the event:
- “Human Rights situation of LGBT People in Armenia” 2018 annual report,
- “Violent responce at Shurnukh in the context of hate speech” legal analysis (available in Armenian only),
- “Hate Speech Displayed by State Officials Towards LGBT People in Armenia 2004-2018” legal analysis.
The Chairperson of Pink Armenia Lilit Avetisyan, presented the annual review on the Human Rights Situation of LGBT people in Armenia based on the facts and legal analysis of the cases recorded throughout the year 2018. She mentioned that the report included publications from mass media and social media made by representatives of state bodies, officials and public figures that contained hate speech and incited intolerance. She mentioned that in 2018, Pink Armenia recorded 25 cases of offences paired with discrimination based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation, in 10 of these cases the victim withdrew claims and didn’t want the legal proceedings to continue. Lilit Avetisyan also mentioned that 12 cases were reported to the RA police, resulting in 6 criminal cases initiated, another 6 reports have been dismissed by police. The speaker presented a number of examples of violations of LGBT people’s rights of being free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, also violation of rights to privacy and family life, honor and good reputation, as well as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. The examples included Shurnukh violent attack, various attacks on transgender people, domestic violence cases, and more. She also touched upon the course of state obligations of Armenia, its progress and shortcomings, and as a result proposals were made in the report for the state to consider.
Pink Armenia’s lawyer Vaghinak Ter-Hovhannisyan presented a legal analysis of Violent Response in Shurnukh Village in the Context of Hate Speech where 9 young people, including LGBT activists, were attacked. He reported on the existence and justification of discrimination, hate speech, based on real or alleged sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those individuals within the frames of international and domestic law. He presented a number of prominent incidents of offenses, incitement of violence, hostility, insulting expressions, statements and calls for violence by government officials, politicians, public and religious organizations and their representatives, mass media, community members, such as the National Assembly parliamentarians Gevorg Petrosyan, Edward Sharmazanov, also clergymen of the Armenian Apostolic Church Bishops Arshak Khachatryan, Ephrem Harutyunyan and others. Vaghinak Ter-Hovhannisyan then mentioned the negative effects and dangers of such expressions by the above-mentioned groups, as well as the reason for the hate speech or what has been justified by violence, which are the main manipulation tools and circumstances that are used for personal and/or political purposes against LGBT people.Then he talked about the limitation of freedom of expression in the context of hate speech.
Pink Armenia’s lawyer Hasmik Petrosyan presented an extensive report on Hate Speech Displayed by State Officials Towards LGBT People in Armenia 2004-2018. She mentioned that the speech containing hatred was expressed by state officials not only continuously, but also became more and more prominent and widespread throughout the years. She said that for more than 14 years Armenia has failed to develop legal mechanisms to combat the hate speech, while politicians continued to spread hatred and discrimination. Hasmik Petrosyan presented some examples of hatred, hostility, intolerance, discrimination, insulting expressions, and calls for incitement of violence by government officials and underlined that they spread more discriminatory attitude and create intolerance towards LGBT people. She mentioned that comments which justify hate speech also have dangerous consequences. She also mentioned that public officials’ hate speech, calls for violence, and not bearing responsibility for them afterward, or condemnation by the authorities, creates an atmosphere of impunity and is a basis for further hatred and hate crimes. In the end of the presentation, a number of legislative reforms and other legal proposals were suggested.