Armenia must support and protect human rights defenders

Armenian NGO PINK is being threatened and intimidated for its work on LGBT issues by sections of the public and by some political figures in Armenia. The Armenian authorities must stop this intimidation and hold those responsible to account. Human Rights House Network calls on the authorities to end their silence and inaction, and meet their obligations to protect, empower, and support human rights defenders.

In a joint letter to the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, 37 NGOs from nineHuman Rights Houses have detailed instances of threats and intimidation against PINK, and raised concerns about the silence and inaction by the authorities. HRHN urges the Armenian authorities to:

  • Investigate – Immediately investigate all cases of threats and attacks against human rights defenders, in particular the most recent ones against participants of the “Rainbow” forum, and bring the perpetrators to justice
  • Provide protections and guarantees – Take appropriate steps to guarantee a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, in the whole country and in all sectors of society, especially by providing concrete support to threatened human rights defenders to ensure their security
  • Express support – Ensure that various political leaders publicly express support to threatened human rights defenders and denounce such threats and attacks, including in support of the participants of the “Rainbow” forum, and thereby affirm the legitimacy of their work. 

In October 2015, Pink organised the Rainbow forum to discuss and develop means to protect and promote the human rights of LGBT people in Armenia. People who took part in the forum have since been targeted with insults, intimidation, and threats including threats to burn them, and kill them. Politicians have also weighed in with discriminatory statements and hate speech. 

Armenia must counter the immediate and specific threats to PINK, and work to end the wider, long-term threat to all human rights defenders in Armenia, and prevent a climate of impunity created by silence and inaction against those who threaten and intimidate human rights defenders. 

HRHN wrote a letter of concern to the Armenian authorities in September 2013, condemning ongoing smear campaigns against organisations working on gender issues, and urging the authorities to protect human rights defenders.

Documents:

Latest

May 10, 2019

International Civil Society Week in Belgrade

International Civil Society Week 2019 (ICSW) was held in Belgrade from 8-12 April 2019. Events were co-organised by Civic Initiatives (member of Human Rights House Belgrade), CIVICUS: Civic Alliance for Citizen Participation, and Balkan Civil Society Development Network.

May 10, 2019

“If you can smile in the most difficult situations, you are not yet defeated”

A key contributor to creating a human rights community in Belarus, Tatsiana Reviaka was one of the country’s first human rights defenders when she began her work in the newly-independent Belarus. Reviaka was the president of Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House between 2010 and 2018.

May 10, 2019

Marking 10 Years of the Anti-Discrimination Act in Croatia

Marking the anniversary of the adoption of the main legal instrument to fight discrimination in Croatia, Human Rights House Zagreb held an international conference in cooperation with the Office of the Ombudswoman.