The year of 2018 was marked by the popular uprising coined “Velvet Revolution” and the events prior to it and following it. On December 7, 2018, Human Rights House Yerevan NGO issued a special report on “Human Rights Defenders in the Revolution”. This report was a reflection on the political processes at the time of the revolution in light of the activities carried out by human rights defenders, activists and journalists; restriction and/or obstruction of their activities and violation of their rights during the revolution and in its aftermath.
Adding to the analyses and monitoring findings published in the Special Report, this Annual Report aims to elaborate on negative trends in the human rights field that followed in the post-revolutionary period. This was particularly the case in relation to LGBT human rights defenders, female activists, environmentalists, as well as lawyers who have taken up defense of high-profile individuals and environmentalists.
Targeting of LGBT rights defenders, incidents of obstructing their work
During the revolutionary movement of April-May in Yerevan, LGBT protesters received a differentiated and prejudiced attitude. There were instances when they were detained only due to their alleged sexual orientation. There were also instances when the police would make inappropriate comments to the appearance of people. LGBT protesters received a bad attitude from the public as well.
After the revolution the Republican party, Tsarukyan alliance, the clergy and the “anti-gay” groups started actively speculating on the LGBT topic in an attempt to play it against the new government. For example, Gevorg Petrosyan, a lecturer at the Yerevan State University and member of the Parliament from Tsarukyan Alliance, made a few hate speech posts in social media with calls for crimes. He also made similar statements in mass media. He specifically called for “not tolerating and expelling LGBT persons from Armenia.”
The report also refers to the case of violence in Shurnukh village and further developments.