ILGA-Europe published its Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia, including events between January and December 2022.
This year’s Annual Review sheds light on several significant issues particularly distinctive for 2022. Those issues are related to asylum and migration, as there was mass migration across the entire region because of the war in Ukraine and repressive regimes in Belarus and Central Asia, bias-motivated speech and violence against LGBTI people accompanied with tortures, murders, suicides, as well as hate crimes in most countries of both regions. Nevertheless, there has been recorded a rise in positive court responses to both bias-motivated speech and crime. Topics such as sexual education, freedom of assembly, health and legal gender recognition have been challenged too. There is also a remarkable trend towards intersex bodily integrity and a positive movement towards recognizing the issue on an institutional level in Europe.
However, Central Asia remains the region with a widespread lack of protection for LGBTI people. The major issue is the criminalization of LGBTI people and the lack of primary anti-discrimination legislation in most countries.
The chapter on Armenia is mainly focused on bias-motivated violence, pointing out the attacks on trans people, especially the incident that took place in August, when a trans woman was physically attacked by an extremist who live-streamed the assault; this being the first case that was ended with a guilty verdict, sentencing the perpetrator to seven and a half years in prison as a perpetrator of a homophobic hate crime.
The report shed light on the suicide of a young couple in Armenia that shook the community. A photo of them kissing went viral and received perpetual hate messages․ Hate speech against LGBTI people online was reported as a severe issue in Armenia.
As stated in the report, Pink documented 27 cases of physical and sexual violence in 2022. In most cases, when the family members found out about the victims’ sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), they bit, assaulted, threatened or locked them up, subjecting them to physical, psychological and economic violence. Of the 27 cases of violence, seven were lesbian or bisexual women, 11 were gay or bisexual men, and 12 were trans or non-binary.
During 2022, Pink documented 44 cases of discrimination based on SOGI, of which 16 were reported to law enforcement bodies. Some of these cases were rejected, and others were not processed properly.
The report outlined the European Court of Human Rights judgment in May 2022 on the Oganezova v. Armenia case. The court established that the Armenian authorities failed to conduct an effective investigation into the 2012 arson attack on the DIY pub without considering the homophobic motive of the crime, as well as failed to protect the applicant from threats and harassment aftermath.
Legal gender recognition and sexual and reproductive rights remain issues in Armenia. However, civil society and human rights defenders continue to resolve these issues to create a less discriminative state for LGBTI people.