I am very happy to see that finally LGBT rights are on PACE agenda in relation to Armenia.
According to very little information that was publicised, they indeed discussed LGBT rights with the Armenian side, in particular during meetings with political parties represented in the parliament.
In an interview with 1in.am, former ARF Dashnaktsutyun MP Rubik Hakobyan, who now represents opposition Heritage party, could not hide his unease when recalling discussions on the topic. Without explicitly stating his position or elaborating on discussions, he however made it clear where he stands when it comes to equality and human rights for all (not on the side of equality), by immediately referring to ‘traditional values’, importance not to “impose” on Armenia “European values systems and standards”. I never trusted Rubik Hakobyan, and I believe he is a liability for Heritage party. Despite having some questionable members, Heritage party is perhaps the most gay friendly among political parties in Armenia. To remind, back in 2009, they organised roundtable discussion on intolerance, xenophobia and homophobia in Armenia. And in 2012 Heritage party head Raffi Hovhannisyan was the only head of political party who visited firebombed gay friendly DIY bar, in a show of solidarity (read also this reflection)
What was more interesting - raises eyebrows - was a statement by current head of parliamentary
interesting remarks, worth noting for future reference:
Head of the ARF-D faction Armen Rustamyan (pictured) informed Epress.am that the co-rapporteurs wanted to know about the existence of political prisoners in Armenia and the protection of the rights of LGBT people. […] On the matter of LGBT rights, Rustamyan said that the ARF-D is a member of Socialist International and is guided by the same principles. "Questions about LGBT people can be posed to those political parties that haven't expressed a position. The ARF-D is a member of Socialist International," he said.Seriously, Armen Rustamyan? Are you saying that Armenia’s ARF Dashnaktsutyun is guided by the Socialist International’s principles about LGBT rights? To recall: MPs of ARF Dashnaktsutyun party bail out neo-nazi attacker of DIY bar. Dashnak MP Artsvik Minasyan supports arson attack, effectively encouraging terrorism in Armenia (see also links in the comments section of that post). These MPs were never reprimanded, they never ever apologised for their disgraceful behaviour and remain in high ranking positions within the Armenian branch of the party.
(AM) ՀՅԴ խմբակցության ղեկավար Արմեն Ռուստամյանը (լուսանկարում) Epress.am-ին հայտնել է, որ համազեկուցողները ցանկացել են իրենց կարծիքն իմանալ Հայաստանում քաղբանտարկյալների առկայության և նույնասեռականների իրավունքների պաշտպանության վերաբերյալ։ […] Նույնասեռականների իրավունքների մասին հարցին ՀՅԴ-ական պատգամավորը պատասխանել է, որ իրենց կուսակցությունը սոցինտերնի անդամ է և նույն չափորոշիչներով էլ առաջնորդվում է։ «Միասեռականների մասին հարցեր կարող են տալ այն կուսակցություններին, որոնք դիրքորոշում չեն հայտնել։ ՀՅԴ-ն սոցինտերնի անդամ է»,- ասել է Ռոստամյանը…
Now let’s check the Socialist International's principles re LGBT rights. Principles, that according to ARF Dashnaktsutyun party parliamentary head Armen Rustamyan, they are guided with. Here we are: Ethical charter of the Socialist International
“To respect and reinforce the fundamental human rights, be they individual rights (respect of private life, freedom of thought, belief, education, sexual orientation and right to equal treatment etc.), social rights (freedom of trade unions, right to strike, social protection etc.) or political rights (freedom of association, universal vote).
To foster gender equality in every area of private and public life, including within our parties, in decision-making positions in all fields and at all levels.
To fight against all forms of discrimination based on gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, language, religion, philosophical or political beliefs.
To fight against all ultra nationalist, fundamentalist, xenophobic and racist trends and to refrain from all forms of political alliance or co-operation, at any level, with any political party inciting or trying to inflame prejudices, ethnic or racial hatred.” Adopted in 27-29 October 2003 at the XXII Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo.If we follow these principles that all members of the Socialist International must adhere to, ARF Dashnaktsutyun (supposedly) respects and reinforces the fundamental human rights, including based on sexual orientation, and fights against all forms of discrimination, including based on gender and sexual orientation. I am not even going into the part of fighting “against all ultra nationalist… trends” etc.etc. Basically, it’s the best party ever. We just did not know.
Make a note of this reference, and challenge ARF Dashnaktsutyun party’s stance on LGBT rights in Armenia, in accordance with the principles of the Socialist International.
*picture - via Epress.am