The recent report on Armenia by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights clearly states that the situation of LGBTI persons in that country is amongst the worst in Europe. As one indicator of the gravity of the situation, in November 2018, the Eastern European and Central Asian Forum Conference of LGBTI+ Christians in Yerevan had to be cancelled because of death threats, incitement to hate – including by public figures – and concerns about the safety of participants. This was against a background in which NGOs report dozens of human rights violations against LGBTI people each year.
It is also clear that the authorities are failing to address these concerns, despite the recommendations of international human rights bodies. Neither anti-discrimination legislation currently under preparation, nor existing hate speech/hate crime legislation make specific mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.
We call upon the Armenian authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and freedom from discrimination of LGBTI persons. These should include publicly condemning violence and hate speech targeting LGBTI persons, the introduction of hate speech, hate crime and anti-discrimination legislation specifically including sexual orientation and gender identity, and training for law enforcement officials and judges.