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“Armenia’s leading political party employs “hate speech” toward LGBTI people, rather than promote equality”: State Department’s report

Armenia’s officials, including police and military and prison authorities, subjected lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons to abuse and discrimination with impunity, says US State department’s annual report on human rights situation in 2015, published on April 13.

“Rather than promote equality, leading political party representatives and media affiliated with authorities continued to employ “hate speech” toward members of the LGBTI community, strengthening the environment of impunity in the country,” citing PINK Armenia’s annual report emphasizes the research, adding that LGBTI persons experienced physical violence and threats of violence, blackmail, and harassment, what police shows indifferent attitude. After the LGBTI forum which was held on October 17-18, PINK reported to police about the numerous threats which participants of forum received and in the report is noted that law enforcement bodies,  were conducting a preinvestigation as of October, but the case was dismissed reasoning “Lack of evidence”.

Citing PINK Armenia the report describes a case, when in the end of August 2015 five men beat two transgender sex workers in a park in downtown Yerevan. The two victims hid in a nearby hotel waiting for the attackers to leave but were subsequently followed from the hotel to the prosecutor general’s office, located nearby, and attacked again near the office. According to the victims, office guards did not help them.

State department’s report has not been unconcerned about Iravunk newspaper as well “According to PINK Armenia, LGBTI individuals whose Facebook profile links were included in a homophobic article published in May 2014 by the Iravunk newspaper continued to face social bias and harassment. One of them reported receiving a stream of hate mail from senders threatening to find his address and harm him. Because of employment discrimination, he could not find a job”.

Regarding military it says, that openly gay men were exempt from military service, purportedly because of concern that fellow service members would abuse them. The exemption, however, required a medical finding, based on a psychological examination, that an individual had a mental disorder; this information appeared in the individual’s personal identity documents and was an obstacle to employment and obtaining a driver’s license. Gay men who served in the army reportedly faced physical and psychological abuse.

In terms of prisoners, the report citing Prison Monitoring Group find out, that LGBTI people were frequent targets for humiliating discrimination, other inmates forced them to perform degrading labor, and administrators separated them from the rest of the prison population. LGBTI people are the once wh leave in the worst condition in prisons, states the report.