Wednesday, 25 March 2015

EU sees "limited" human rights progress in Armenia and calls authorities to adopt LGBT inclusive anti-discrimination legislation

In an annual report to assess the implementation of whatever remained from the European Neighbourhood Policy in Armenia, EU noted "no tangible developments in the implementation and enforcement of legislation on human rights and fundamental freedoms", and overall "limited progress on deep and sustainable democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms".

Among its recommendations, EU calls Armenia authorities to adopt and implement a "comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation":
  • adopting and implementing a comprehensive anti-discrimination law; implementing and monitoring implementation of the law on equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men, including taking further steps towards harmonising legislation in this area with the EU acquis; adopting the law on domestic violence
EU report states: "Armenia still does not have a comprehensive legal framework against discrimination. The human rights action plan only suggested assessing the compatibility of relevant Armenian legislation with international law and weighing the merits of adopting an anti-discrimination law. No measures were put in place to protect the rights of LGBTI people, while discrimination and hostility continued to be a major problem. There was also widespread discrimination against people with disabilities with regard to their economic, social and cultural rights. People with disabilities were also socially segregated in all areas." [emphasis mine]

Full report is available here.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Irrepressibles gig in London: full of emotions, strength and vulnerability

I am a big fan of The Irrepressibles, and was super excited to finally see them performing live in London. It was their first London gig (Islington, Assembly Hall, Fri 20 March 2015) of the NUDE.

I had pretty high expectations, and this was one of the instances when my high expectations were fully met.

The vocals, emotions, combination of strength and vulnerability, their performance was emotionally draining and very honest.

And yes, Jamie, the lead singer, was pretty sexy with the beard. I loved his new image. There were frequent shouts "You are so sexy", "I love you" from the  audience.

If you ever have a chance to see The Irrepressibles live, do it, it's a must.















And below is a pic of the opening support act by Ebe Oke, and of the stage before the show.



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Rainbow Istanbul, with Armenian touch


Istanbul is such a contradictory city. Being part of Turkey where homophobia, hate crime and other (not only LGBT-related) human rights violations are widespread, while having openly rainbow signs, not to mention the annual gay pride march. Interlinked signs of modernity and conservatism, all in one place, a step away from each other.

When in Istanbul last June to participate in a gay pride march and to meet friends, I started noticing rainbow flags and rainbow signs in various parts of the city, and decided to make pictures of them whenever I notice.

These pics are made in the streets of Istanbul, when passing by stores, shops, bars, visiting art galleries or using metro, in mainly unexpected places.


One of the interesting  - but expected, as I learned about it before traveling to Istanbul - art related rainbow displays came in a form of “Rainbow” installation at the Istanbul Modern by Turkish-Armenian artist Sarkis Zabunyan, better known as Sarkis. While not directly LGBT-linked, I view it as part of the overall experience.
[…] the installation “Rainbow” was produced in neon and measures 7.5 meters in height and 15 meters in width. Showing a rainbow in the process of forming, the installation “Rainbow” will illuminate art and museum visitors for 365 days. “Rainbow” reminds us of the states of becoming of art as a never-ending field of thought and action. It symbolizes the endless rhythm, excitement, and joys of life. 
Sarkis defines his installation as a “rainbow gaining momentum toward the Big Bang” and adds: “Rainbow should be regarded as a miracle. Art is always about new beginnings; there are references, but in the process of creating, all of these references disappear, giving way to fresh ideas.”

Sunday, 1 March 2015

House of Cards, season 3 explosive storyline against Russia’s anti-gay law

As a a big fan of Netflix’s House of Cards, I could not wait till season 3 is finally on. And when it was finally on, I was so excited, it took me a while till I was able to calm down and actually start watching. And then… I could not stop watching till the very last episode is over. [and yes, now I am in a state of withdrawal, and there is a long wait ahead till season 4]

I am not going to give away any plot details or review the season, you can watch it at your own pace and make up your mind. For the purposes of this brief blog post, I only want to mention that starring in the season 3 is Putin himself, well, his prototype named ‘Petrov’.

Episode 3 is quite something when you see Putin/Petrov’s first appearance, with some other prominent guest stars. It was an entertaining episode, but not powerful.

It’s not until the episode 6 when the storyline became pretty explosive with a powerful statement against Russia’s anti-gay law and against hypocrisy in politics, in general.


Big respects to Netflix and the whole team behind the House of Cards for speaking up.

A must watch.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Valentine’s Day in the streets of Yerevan: How young people define “love”?

On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Armenia-based online Activist Radio conducted a quick survey in the streets of Yerevan to find out young people’s opinion re what is “love” to them in general, and their opinion about same-sex love.

Most opinions about definition of “love” were pretty unremarkable, pathetic, to say the least. The most hilarious for me was someone’s reply that “love” [“սեր” in Armenian] is apparently an abbreviation [“սերը հապավում ա”] meaning: “սրտի երջանիկ րոպեներ” :))

Unsurprisingly, as soon as the topic turned to the same-sex love, opinions expressed were mainly negative, with some neutral and supportive ones too.
Վալենտինի օրվա կապակցությամբ Երևանի փողոցներում հարցում անցկացրեցինք անցորդներից, թե ի՞նչ է սերը նրանց համար և ինչպե՞ս են վերաբերվում նույնասեռական սիրուն: Պարզվում է, ըստ մեր համաքաղաքացիներից ոմանց կարծիքի, սերը դադարում է լինել բարձր, վեհ, բառերով չնկարագրվող զգացմունք, երբ այն ուղղված է նույն սեռի անձին: Մնացածն առանց մեկանբանության:

Video summary: The impact of LGBT emigration on economic indicators of Armenia

Great job by PINK Armenia to prepare this bi-lingual video summary re: The impact of LGBT emigration on economic indicators of Armenia

The video is in Armenian ["ԼԳԲՏ էմիգրացիայի ազդեցությունը Հայաստանի տնտեսական ցուցանիշների վրա"], with English subtitles (for subtitles - click on Subtitles/CC). Highly recommended.

 


For background info, read: Research: The impact of LGBT emigration on economic indicators of Armenia

Monday, 9 February 2015

“Yerevan Gay” - new Armenian LGBT blog

It’s been a while since I last introduced new Armenian LGBT blog. Always glad to see gay Armenians blogging, adding their voice to the online conversation that eventually transcends to the offline world.

Yerevan Gay started couple of months ago, towards the end of 2014. I do not know who is the author of this blog or project, but based on first impression and exchange of comments on Twitter, seems someone who is passionate with what s/he is doing.


Blog contains a gallery section (poster-like pics with messages of equality, tolerance, no hate… from YerevanGay’s Instagram page). Also included is Yerevan guide with several suggestions of places to go. And of course the main page with blog posts (mixture of Armenian and English language postings).


“About” section describes this blog as a “new project for people from all over the world who are from LGBT community (and for those who in any way support LGBT people) to gather and help the LGBT communities in Armenia to have equal rights and to protest against homophobia and intolerance. The main goal is to be able to reach to the people via internet to show the voice of the tolerance and equality.”

Pretty commendable aims. Good luck, Yerevan Gay, and welcome to the blogosphere.

*pictures - via YerevanGay's Instagram page

Saturday, 31 January 2015

(IN)2VALUABLE photo exhibit and contest by PINK Armenia tackles intolerance and discrimination

On 21 December 2014, (IN)2VALUABLE exhibition took place in “Nerkay Arts Management and Creativity Center” organised by PINK Armenia. The exhibition - based on submissions for the photo contest of the same name - aimed at drawing attention to the problems of discrimination and intolerance in our society, with the entries reflecting concepts of tolerance and anti-discrimination.

All photo entries were initially posted on Facebook, and the following three entries have been awarded in different categories:

  • The most liked photo on Facebook: “All Different, All Equal” by Harutyun Krikyan 
  • Jury selection: “My Sport” by Artur Karoyan 
  • INVALUABLE photo: “Love” by Ani Tadevosyan

The last two entries were selected by a jury, including both PINK Armenia board members and a professional photographer.

I am glad that along with the three entries above, my favourite entry, submitted by Peghq -“We Are All Humans” (see below), have also been selected to be used for promotional materials of PINK Armenia, such as postcards and informational materials. Congrats !!



Friday, 30 January 2015

“We Are Among You” campaign by LGBT group in Azerbaijan

Via Gay.az, the aim of “We Are Among You” campaign by Azeri group Nefes LGBT (“Free LGBT”) is to send a message to the public in this largely homophobic country that LGBT people are an integral part of the Azerbaijani society.

As part of the campaign, LGBT activists posted stickers “before you, a lesbian [or gay/bi/trans person] sat [or stood] here” in various parts of the capital Baku.
Как говорят организаторы, цель компании - показать общественности, что ЛГБТ являются неотъемлемой частью азербайджанского общества.

По словам общественной организации «Свободные ЛГБТ» (Nefes LGBT), общество ошибочно полагает, что представители ЛГБТ никогда не жили в Азербайджане и появились в результате изменения образа жизни после обретения Азербайджаном независимости, в результате активной интеграции в Европу.

«Мы, как и гетеросексуалы, являемся неотъемлемой частью азербайджанского общества. Мы не больны, и наравне с гетеросексуалами активно участвуем в общественной жизни страны». С этой целью в различных частях столицы ЛГБТ активистами были расклеены стикеры «До тебя тут сидел гей», «До тебя тут сидела лесбиянка».

*screenshot - via Nefes LGBT Facebook group

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Human Rights Watch "World Report 2015": reflections on LGBT rights in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

Brief reflections of different aspects re LGBT rights in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan by Human Rights Watch within their annual World Report 2015 released today.

Armenia

Minority Rights
Local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists reported that LGBT people continue to face discrimination, harassment, and physical violence. Hate speech against LGBT people, including by public officials, remains a serious issue. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not included in anti-discrimination or hate speech laws, limiting legal recourse for many crimes against LGBT people.

Iravunq newspaper published several online articles calling for LGBT people and organizations working to protect them to be excluded from public life and for their families to shun them. A May 17 article included a “blacklist” of 60 people with links to their social media pages. Several people named in the article requested a retraction, but the paper refused. Sixteen people filed lawsuits for damage to honor and dignity, but a court rejected their claims in October.

Key International Actors
The PACE fact-finding mission report noted the improved political climate and progress toward Armenia’s fulfilment of its Council of Europe (CoE) membership obligations but also highlighted serious shortcomings, including the lack of judicial independence, abuses in the military, domestic violence, and hostility toward religious minorities and LGBT people.

Georgia

Anti-Discrimination and Minority Rights 
In May, parliament adopted an anti-discrimination bill that provides for protection against discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Some criticized the bill for lacking efficient implementation mechanisms, including means for imposing financial penalties for perpetrators. The bill put the Ombudsman’s Office in charge of overseeing anti-discrimination measures.

In February, the constitutional court in Georgia struck down a 13-year-old ban on homosexual men being blood donors.

Azerbaijan

Human Rights Defenders
Isa Shahmarly, former chair of the Free (Azad) LGBT group, hanged himself with a rainbow flag in his Baku apartment in late January 2014, writing in a note that Azerbaijan society was “not for him.”

PACE delegates: Armenian authorities fail to condemn incitement to hatred against LGBT people

Below is a statement [Written declaration No. 584 | Doc. 13690 | 28 January 2015] by 22 delegates of the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe):

[For background: Tabloid of hate: virulent homophobia awarded by Armenia president’s state medal and stamped by court’s approval]

On 17 May 2014 the Armenian newspaper ‘Iravunk’ published an article on its website entitled “They serve the interests of international homo-addiction [sic] lobbying: the blacklist of the country’s and nation’s enemies”. It attacked “homosexual lobbyists” for trying to “aggressively enforce their moral dogma on our country”. Demanding “zero tolerance”, it identified 60 people, calling for them to be ostracised, denied employment and access to the media, and excluded from participation “in the upbringing of younger generations”.

The chair of the ‘Iravunk’ board, Hayk Babukhanyan, is an MP for Armenia’s governing political faction, the Republican Party.

The authorities have failed to condemn this incitement to hatred and discrimination. On the contrary, on 25 October Mr Babukhanyan was awarded a medal of honour by the President of Armenia. A law suit against “Iravunk” for defamation was dismissed six days later.

We call upon:

• Armenia’s delegates to this Assembly, particularly those from the Republican Party, to impress upon colleagues the need to refrain from incitement to hatred and discrimination;

• The Armenian authorities to condemn such incitement unreservedly and to put in place measures to implement the Committee of Ministers Recommendation on combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC

Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD

Mr Claude ADAM, Luxembourg, SOC

Mr Paride ANDREOLI, San Marino, SOC

Mr Gerardo GIOVAGNOLI, San Marino, SOC

Mr Jonas GUNNARSSON, Sweden, SOC

Ms Monica HAIDER, Sweden, SOC

Ms Eva-Lena JANSSON, Sweden, SOC

Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL

Mr Pierre-Yves LE BORGN', France, SOC

Mr Philippe MAHOUX, Belgium, SOC

Ms Marit MAIJ, Netherlands, SOC

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC

Mr Michael McNAMARA, Ireland, SOC

Ms Ana Catarina MENDONÇA, Portugal, SOC

Ms Marie-Claude MORIN, Canada

Ms Melita MULIĆ, Croatia, SOC

Mr Michele NICOLETTI, Italy, SOC

Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC

Ms Maria de Belém ROSEIRA, Portugal, SOC

Ms Deborah SCHEMBRI, Malta, SOC

Ms Tineke STRIK, Netherlands, SOC

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Research: The impact of LGBT emigration on economic indicators of Armenia

I am not an economist and I did not conduct a detailed analysis of this report, so I cannot judge re quality or precision of the estimates, but I praise this first attempt at putting numeric values and reflecting the impact of LGBT emigration on Armenia's economy. Of course, as report stresses, particularly in countries with widespread homophobia where LGBT people conceal their sexual orientation, any research on LGBT related issues has its limitations. However, despite these limitations, such research provides us with an invaluable insight into the issues faced and may help at refining the research methodology.

Below I present a summary prepared by PINK Armenia. For the report in full, please follow this link.


“Public information and Need of Knowledge” and “Socioscope” Societal Research and Consultancy Center NGOs prepared a report about the LGBT emigration impact on economic indicators of Armenia. The purpose of the project was to study the impact of LGBT emigration on economic indicators of Armenia during 2011-2013 as a result of discrimination against the LGBT community and to reflect those changes in a long-term perspective.

The calculations made by this study demonstrate that, for a citizen of Armenia of average demographics who emigrated during the years 2011-2013, a minimum of the equivalent of $3,545 was spent on education. According to approximate estimates, 5,891 citizens of Armenia emigrated due to discrimination during the years 2011-2013, which implies that society has lost around $21 million in one go only in terms of educational investment toward LGBT emigrants. As for income not received, the calculations reveal that, in the year following emigration during 2011-2013, Armenia did not receive $88,365,000 across three years and for all LGBT emigrants. This is the loss following only one year after emigration, but that loss is prevalent in reality in all the years until the emigrant reaches retirement age.

Budget revenues for all three years taken together – 2011-2013 – could have been more by $20 million had the LGBT individuals who left due to discrimination remained. As a result of the emigration of 5,891 LGBT individuals, the state budget will lose around $2 billion in revenue, at purchasing power as of January 1, 2014, over the course of more than the following 36 years (until retirement).And as a result of LGBT emigration in the following twelve years, from 2014 to 2025, Gross domestic product (GDP) will have a loss of $3 billion at purchasing power as of January 1, 2014, adjusted for Purchasing power parity (PPP), while the budget will lose $370 million at purchasing power as of January 1, 2014.

The full report consists of sociological study and economic assessment. Read the full report with all its findings here.
***
*This chart is from the study Monitoring of Human Rights Violations of LGBT PeopleArmenia conducted by PINK Armenia during September-October 2012.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Positive representation of gay people on Russian TV - Физика или Химия

Browsing YouTube, I accidentally came across this Russian TV series Физика или Химия [Physics or Chemistry]. It’s a Russian adaptation of original Spanish TV series Física o Química.

I watched only one episode - therefore I cannot reflect the whole series - but was struck by positive, away from cliché, representation of gay people on Russian TV. So many aspects of it were done so good, including the choice of characters, relationships with friends, coming out, parents’ reaction...



This could have been a textbook example of how media should portray LGBT people, especially in countries where homophobia is very high and there is big gap and lack in education on matters of sexuality and gender identity. And what is even more important, that the series are based in a high school setting in Moscow, raising important youth relevant issues.

Unfortunately, there was only 1 season produced and shown on Russian CTC TV channel in 2011, and, of course, considering the subsequent developments in Russia, where homophobia elevated to the state level by the so called gay propaganda laws and other examples of intolerance, you will unlikely to see anything similar in the near future.

It's a big shame that country with such a great intellectual and cultural potential to champion diversity, equality, acceptance within post-Soviet space and beyond, instead turned into an epitome of intolerance and homophobia.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tabloid of hate: virulent homophobia awarded by Armenia president’s state medal and stamped by court’s approval

I’d like to start this pretty depressing post on a somehow lighter note, with a joke (AM), posted on Facebook for this occasion by user A.N.:
- Բարև ձեզ։ Բեղիկներով պահպանակ ունե՞ք։
- Ունենք, բայց էսօր գնացել ա մեդալ ստանալու։
In an article “They serve the interests of international homosexual lobby: the blacklist of country’s and nation’s enemies”, Iravunk tabloid listed 60 individuals with the links to their Facebook pages, calling them “zombies”, “traitors” and more.
"On 17th of May, 2014, the editor-in-chief of “Iravunk” newspaper Hovhannes Galajyan published an article on the newspaper’s website titled “They serve the interests of international homosexual lobbying: the blacklist of country’s and nation’s enemies.” In the article, the author presents a “blacklist” containing Facebook hyperlinks of 60 people, makes offensive statements addressed to those persons and calls for “Ordinary people to stop communicating with the lobbyist on the internet, as well as in real life, not to greet them, not to help them with any issues, not to engage in any business relations with them; state officials not to hire those lobbyists for public service jobs, and if they already work there, to fire them under any convenient pretext.” For employers to do the same and for the co-owners of media companies, so those lobbyists won’t be given any chance to make an influence on public opinion and also for “the heads of educational institutions, so they won’t let the lobbyists to participate in the upbringing of younger generations.” […]
On 30th of May, 2014, several citizens whose names appeared in the “blacklist” have sent a letter to the president of the editorial board of Iravunk, Haik Babukhanyan, and the editor-in-chief Hovhannes Galajyan, where they pointed out that the article contains insults, and also requested them to deny the information written in the article. This request was denied and in 03.06.2014 another article was published titled as “And they still dare to request a denial?” in which Iravunk continued to insult and give inaccurate information. In particular, such expressions as “this creature,” “filthy biography” and more were aimed at those who requested denial of the untrue information."
A statement posted by PINK Armenia reads:
“Today the court rejected the case of 16 individuals against Iravunk newspaper. Earlier the Armenian newspaper Iravunk published a ‘blacklist’ of Armenians connected to the LGBT community that it claimed to be enemies of the nation.

Few days ago this homophobic paper’s founding editor and two other workers received Medal of Honor from the president of RA. The president of National Assembly of RA also congratulated the founding editor of the newspaper, who is a MP and a member of Republican Fraction as well.

We believe that high level support of official reflected on the decision of the Court and this shows once more that hate speech and homophobia is highly supported by the high level officials of Armenia, and this creates atmosphere of impunity, gives floor for hate crime and fascism in the country.”
Courts in Armenia are not independent, rarely making decisions that contravene ruling regime’s position. Not only court rejected the lawsuit on the basis of “freedom of expression” (how 'noble' of them!) but obliged citizens to make payments in favour of Iravunk paper to compensate their expenses. Activists will pursue available legal channels to appeal the court’s verdict and, depending on circumstances, may reach the European court of human rights too.

Epress.am reports from the courtroom: “After the judge read the verdict nearly ten people began clapping in favor of the decision. Among them was “Iravunk Media” company director, Republican Party faction MP Hayk Babukhanyan (pictured on right), who just last week was awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal by President Serzh Sargsyan for the 25th anniversary of the Iravunk paper.”



To remind, this tabloid consistently and systematically publishes articles and other postings full of hate speech and virulent homophobia.

[Hate: Armenian tabloid Iravunk advocates killing of gays]

As I mentioned in past: “As a rule, one hate goes hand in hand with another hate. If you look at Iravunk’s articles, they are not just homophobic, but racist, full of hate to everyone who is different. If you are not gay, you would have still be hated by Galadjyan-like people. For ‘different’ ethnicity, colour of your eyes (skin), music you listen to, films you watch, T-shirt you wear. Anything, really, which is outside of their sad, little and narrow-minded world.”

To sum up: Ruling regime in Armenia turning hate into a state ideology and awarding hatemongers with state awards. Here is a shameful link to the the presidential press-release from the award’s ceremony and picture via president.am.


This picture will be remembered among the most shameful pages of the modern history of Republic of Armenia. Pretty disgusting sight.

And let’s not forget that this story is just part of the growing overall trend. Put this story into a broader perspective of impunity and culture of violence in Armenia supported on a highest state level, like recent re-appointment of Surik Khachatryan (nicknamed “Liska”) - notorious for violent conduct - as governor of Syunik region, and the complete picture is even more depressing.

P.S. This case was picked up by popular international publications buzzfeed (+ here), gaystarnews and more.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

LGBTnews.am (“Ծիածանագույն նորություններ”): Armenian LGBT news website launched

Recently launched LGBTnews.am Armenian LGBT news website is a welcome addition to Armenian LGBT related online resources.
 LGBTnews.am էլեկտրոնային լրատվական կայքը Նորվեգիայի Թագավորության դեսպանատան ֆինանսական աջակցությամբ իրականացվող ծրագիր է, որի հիմնական նպատակը ԼԳԲՏ համայնքին վերաբերող միջազգային և տեղական տեղեկատվության տարածումն է:

Կայքում առկա են «Հայաստան», «Աշխարհ», «Հարցազրույց», «Վերլուծություն», «Մշակույթ», «Իրավունք», ինչպես նաև այլ բաժիններ:

Կայքի թարմացումներին կարող եք հետևել նաև Facebook և Twitter սոցիալական ցանցերի պաշտոնական էջերում:
As of now, the website is available in Armenian language only, although I was told the English version may be coming soon.

It is nicely designed into rainbow colours and at time of launch contained sections on Armenia, world, interviews, reviews, culture and law. It is still work in progress, so if you have any feedback, you are welcome to leave it via website’s contact or FB page.

As Caucasus Equality News Network pointed out, “It is hoped that the website will be able to provide more accurate and reliable information on LGBT issues to Armenians. Currently very few Armenian news sources are friendly towards the LGBT community and Armenia has a strong culture of homophobic media and press. Another large problem very common in the Armenian media is bias towards LGBT individuals, as well as a lack of accurate information, sometimes purposefully incorrect information.”

LGBTnews.am is sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy.

Website: http://lgbtnews.am
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lgbtnewsarmenia
Twitter: coming soon

Friday, 26 September 2014

Armenia ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan joins UN Free & Equal initiative making stance against homophobia

Big respects to Armenia ambassador Vahram Kazhoyan who publicly supported the United Nation’s Free & Equal initiative by taking stance against homophobia.


*picture via Vahram Kazhoyan’s FB page, re-posted on this blog with permission

The message conveyed by the ambassador is simple and powerful, right to the point: “No to homophobia: Hate is not a family value!”.

He posted this picture made at the UN General Assembly on his FB page.

Free & Equal is a United Nations public education initiative for LGBT rights and equality. For more information about the initiative, see www.unfe.org/en/about

Vahram Kazhoyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, is currently heading the Department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. He is also Secretary General of the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO, and head of the Inter-Agency Working Group for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. In past (2001-2009), he was Armenia’s ambassador to Greece (and 5 other countries in the region). He was also assigned to country’s permanent mission to the UN in NYC in 1994-1996.

He is known as a loyal diplomat for his country, devoted to human rights, who genuinely wants to make changes for the better. Most importantly, he is a role model, as a person who raised his children with values of equality and respect.

“No to homophobia: Hate is not a family value!”. Indeed, it is not. Love is.

We need more fathers, like Vahram, and more ambassadors, like him.