Sunday 25 November 2012

Anti-discrimination legislation under discussion in Armenia amid discontent of local human rights groups with the Ombudsman office

On the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance, 16th November, PINK Armenia organised a round-table discussion aimed at developing and advocating for anti-discrimination legislation in the Republic of Armenia.
“Armenia has joined and/or ratified all the main international tools to eradicate discrimination. Nevertheless, the problem of discrimination has never been discussed consistently, and there are no effective legal mechanisms to prevent and punish discrimination against individuals. It is important to shape operational mechanisms in this context to prevent discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia, as well as to respond appropriately to such manifestations”, mentioned the head of PINK Mamikon Hovsepyan. (PINK Armenia press release)
Representatives of the Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Office informed that they have already prepared a preliminary draft of the anti-discrimination law while stating the necessity and importance of this legislation.

It was bizarre to learn that the Ombudsman’s office has already prepared or in a process of finalising a draft anti-discrimination legislation without consultations with the local NGOs working in the filed. This resulted in heated discussions at the round-table.

As far as I learned, Ombudsman’s office reassured that the draft anti-discrimination law will be inclusive (inclusive of sexual orientation too). However, until I see it, I won’t be certain that this is indeed a comprehensive law. Also, Ombudsman’s office should use the word “consultation” to its full meaning and not just a mere formality.

On the other hand, while welcoming these developments, I have doubts that with the current parliament such legislative initiatives have a chance to pass, unless they are set as precondition by the European Union and European organisations to further develop ties with Armenia.

Saturday 17 November 2012

"You are beautiful..." (spotted on Park Avenue, New York)

"You are beautiful, no matter what they say"...

*Niki de Saint Phalle: Les Trois Graces (Park avenue, NYC)

Friday 16 November 2012

Srđan Dragojević, director of Parada: "I didn't know Armenia was so homophobic"

"I can't remember the last time I laughed AND cried so hard in one film." On her blog post Watching Parada and Not in Armenia, Adrineh shares personal impressions of the Serbian film Parada after watching it in one of the European capitals as part of the film festival. Towards the end of the screening, she also managed to exchange few words with the director of Parada.

[...] The other thing that broke my heart was a sentence uttered by the director, Srđan Dragojević, who I was lucky enough to exchange a few words with after the screening. When I asked him whether he knew that attempts to screen in the film in Armenia were unsuccessful as a result of pressure and protests, he said he knew, but "I didn't know Armenia was so homophobic". He then seemed to liken Armenia to Russia by adding the film will "probably be banned in Russia". Not. good. news. at. all. I tried to explain that things in Armenia had ballooned only in recent years, but I only had two minutes of his time as he was rushing off somewhere else, and I wasn't able to get into any more details. He did mention, however, that German embassies in countries where human rights is an issue were given directives to screen the film. Yes, you read that right: "where human rights is an issue"... [...]
For background to the story, read:

Yerevan Press Club, NGOs: Parada film cancellation 'blatant rights violation' and indicator for EU re Armenia commitments

EU head says LGBT people in Armenia are “the most vulnerable” while hatemongers celebrate “victory”... over cancellation of gay rights film screening

Puppets attack Germany embassy and the EU office in Armenia

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Vladimir Shakhidjanyan: "Is it possible to understand homosexuality?"

Interesting way of "explaining" homosexuality and why gay people should be accepted as equals by society by prominent Russian psychologist of Armenian origin Vladimir Shakhidjanyan.

Just one quote here (RU):
Какая разница, какой ты - голубой, розовый, зелененький, красненький, светленький. Любые цвета хороши, кроме коричневых (коричневый - это фашизм, это скверно), а всё остальное допустимо.
For the rest, watch the video (RU). He questions: "Is it possible to understand homosexuality?" by addressing some of the common prejudices still prevalent in Russia and other ex-Soviet states.

*thanks to K. for the link to the video