In July, the NGO Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK) Armenia reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experience employment discrimination, obstacles accessing healthcare, and physical and psychological abuse in the army, in families, and in public.
On May 8, unidentified people threw a homemade bomb at DIY, a Yerevan bar frequented by LGBT and women’s rights activists. Graffiti identified LGBT people as targets. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eduard Sharmazanov called the attack “right and justified.” Police arrested two suspects who were released pending trial. Unidentified attackers destroyed bar property and made death threats against its owners in three subsequent May incidents. Police were called during each attack but intervened only once.
On May 21 in Yerevan, a group of people threatened violence and shouted homophobic slogans at participants in a march organized by PINK Armenia and the Women’s Resource Center Armenia to celebrate diversity.
Key International Actors
In its May European Neighborhood Policy Progress Report, the European Commission urged Armenia to address corruption, media freedom, low public trust in the judiciary, and inadequate investigation of ill-treatment. It commended the government for strengthening laws on gender equality and health care.
European Union foreign ministers’ conclusions on the South Caucasus adopted in February at the Foreign Affairs council in Brussels highlighted the importance of free and fair elections and further judiciary reforms, political pluralism, freedom of and equal access to media, and protection of human rights defenders.
In his July visit to Yerevan, EU President Herman Van Rompuy welcomed Armenian authorities’ efforts to deliver more competitive and transparent parliamentary elections, but cautioned that February 2013 presidential elections should be more democratic.
Following its July review of Armenia’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the HRC highlighted a host of concerns, including lack of comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation, violence against racial and religious minorities and LGBT people, discrimination and violence against women, lack of accountability for torture, and threats and attacks against rights defenders.
In May, the UN Office in Armenia condemned violence and intolerance based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The EU Delegation to Armenia and the CoE’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance expressed concern over Armenia’s inadequate response to anti-LGBT hate speech and violence.
In a new strategy for Armenia adopted in May, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development stressed the need for “further steps” such as police and judiciary reform and facilitating media pluralism.
Unfortunately, there was no reflection on LGBT rights in Georgia and Azerbaijan related annual reports.