While replies from both president’s administration and ministries are vague and do not suggest any commitment by the authorities for tackling discrimination based no sexual orientation and gender identity, what is more important here is that PINK Armenia defied status quo and challenged relevant state bodies re their commitment for LGBT rights and against discrimination. It is the first time I could recall that Armenia president’s administration replies to LGBT rights related formal query.
Via PINK Armenia: “Necessary prerequisites exist in RA legislation to exclude any act of discrimination” - reads a formal reply from the administration of Armenia president in response to letter by PINK Armenia calling Armenian authorities to the call of PINK Armenia to protect LGBT rights.
To mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, PINK Armenia addressed a letter to the Armenia president Serj Sargsyan, several ministries and MPs, with a call to provide in the Republic of Armenia legal provisions for combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to monitor cases of discrimination against LGBT people. The administration of the president noted further that “if there is a need for further legislative regulations, it should be noted that the president of the Republic of Armenia has no right to initiate legislation”.
PINK Armenia also urged president Serj Sargsyan not to award national prizes to individuals and organisations who spread blatant hate speech against LGBT citizens of Armenia and the persons involved in the protection of their rights, to which head of legal department of the president’s staff Grigor Muradyan clarified in the response letter that the person’s worldview is not considered when awarding prizes “if that person does not display any illegal behavior which is to become a subject of assessment of authorities in each specific case”. This part is particularly vague and
Replies were received from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice too.
The Ministry of Justice noted that they have conducted a legal study on relevance of having a separate piece of legislation to combat discrimination, where the matters regarding discrimination have been analysed. [Unzipped: Gay Armenia - I wonder what did they conclude?!…]
The Ministry also reminded that in 2010 the Gender Policy Concept Paper was approved and Republic of Armenia Gender Policy Strategic Program for 2011-2015 was confirmed. [Unzipped: Gay Armenia - Unfortunately, these positive gender related initiatives are effectively stopped now, following Russia inspired hysteric anti-EU outburst]
The letter from the Ministry of Health stated that the issue is outside the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health. However, the Ministry of Health is willing to provide assistance if recommendations from relevant bodies are made.