Today ILGA-Europe published the “Rainbow Europe Map and Index”. Released every May since 2009, marking International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map benchmarks 49 European countries on their legal and policy situation for LGBTI people. Rainbow Europe ranks all 49 European countries on a scale between 0% (gross violations of human rights, discrimination) and 100% (respect of human rights, full equality). Despite a noticeable positive change for LGBTI rights and equality across Europe, Armenia still ranks as the 3rd worst country for LGBTI rights in Europe, with an overall score of 8%, which has remained unchanged for the past two years.
It is important to highlight that Pink Armenia documented 37 cases of discrimination based on SOGI this year, of which nine were reported to law enforcement agencies. Some of these were rejected, and others have not been processed in a meaningful way. Only one case is in the court. In 2020, the Criminal Code was amended to sanction hate speech. Although SOGIESC grounds are not explicitly included in the law, we continued documenting instances of anti-LGBTI hate speech and reported them to the police. We filed four cases in 2020 and another five in 2021. All nine were initially dropped by law enforcement authorities, who argued that no crime took place and cited freedom of speech as a reason. We appealed eight decisions and three are now filed as criminal cases.
ILGA-Europe ranks the countries by examining the legal situation as well as the specific policies that have a direct impact on LGBTI people’s human rights. From May 2022, the number of individual criteria used has risen to 74, divided between seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum. It is important to note that the newest category introduced by ILGA-Europe is on intersex bodily integrity. With this new category, ILGA-Europe wants to send a clear message to governments that protecting the human rights of intersex people requires dedicated efforts and to guide policy-makers on where specific laws and policies are needed.
Based on the map, the only two countries that ranked lower than Armenia are Azerbaijan (2%) and Turkey (4%). Russia scored the same as Armenia at (8%) and Georgia scored (25%). For the seventh year in a row, Malta continues to rank in the first place with an overall score of (92%), followed by Denmark (74%) in second place, and Belgium (72%) in third place.
In order to improve the situation of LGBTI people in Armenia, ILGA-Europe recommends the following:
- Adopting hate crime and speech laws that explicitly cover all bias-motivated crimes based on SOGIESC.
- Specifically including all SOGIESC grounds in legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment and anti-discrimination legislation.
- Developing a fair, transparent legal framework for legal gender recognition, based on a process of self-determination, free from abusive requirements.