Representatives of Armenia’s Ombudsman office, police, ministries of justice and labor and social affairs, government officials, as well as representatives of local and international human rights organizations, media and LGBT community are invited to take part in the round table discussion.Several ministries (as per above) were invited to the roundtable, and were given their initial OK to participate. However, they were all a no-show during the day. Our government made a good progress in endorsing international human rights documents on LGBT rights. And I always commended it. However, while signatures are important, MUCH MORE important is to make practical steps to implement the human rights obligations. With missing such an opportunity, relevant ministries failed to show that they take those obligations seriously, leaving an impression that the signatures are for external consumption only.
The scandalous behaviour of the representative from the Ombudsman’s office (see below) is beyond any further commentary. It’s a clear illustration of how serious the human rights Ombudsman is in defending those very human rights in Armenia. I wonder if they will keep repeating that they are unaware of problems faced by LGBT people.
Live tweeting from the event, Lara Aharonian of the Women’s Resource Centre confirmed that no government officials were present: “apparently they sent invitation to government officials, they said they will come but didn't; the representative from the ombudsman office came, registered and left very early, at the beginning.”
Another participant of the event Adrineh commented on this blog:
“As mentioned elsewhere in Facebook, Sara from IWPR said the Ombudsman rep came, registered and left, saying that another rep from their office would come along shortly, but of course that "other rep" never came.
Sara also mentioned that both the Ministry of Health and Ombudsman office, when they first received the invites for the event, said "What does this have to do with us?" Can you believe it?!”
Unfortunately, I can believe it....
And here is what PINK Armenia reported on their website:
“Representatives of Armenia’s Ombudsman office, police, ministries of justice and labor and social affairs, government officials, as well as representatives of local and international human rights organizations, media and LGBT community were invited to take part in the round table discussion.
Three ministries promised to send representatives but their promises never came true. It is not the first time in our experience that Ministry of Health refused to take part in the discussion with regard to this issue; both MOH and Ombudsman office reaction was: “What does this have to do with us?” Anyway we were informed that Eduard Pilatov from the Human Rights Defender office arrived, registered, then left for smoking and disappeared as a phantom.”