Participants in the first Armenian LGBParticipants in the first Armenian LGBTI forum, “Rainbow”, organized by PINK Armenia, October 17-18. Photo: PINK Armenia
Participants in the first Armenian LGBParticipants in the first Armenian LGBTI forum, “Rainbow”, organized by PINK Armenia, October 17-18. Photo: PINK Armenia
Participants in the first Armenian LGBParticipants in the first Armenian LGBTI forum, “Rainbow”, organized by PINK Armenia, October 17-18. Photo: PINK Armenia

President Serzh Sarkisian,
Office of the President,
Baghramian Avenue 26,
375077,
Yerevan,
Armenia.
Fax: +374 10 52 15 51
Email: [email protected]

Dear President Serzh Sarkisian,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

 

I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

LGBTI rights defenders and participants in the first Armenian LGBTI forum, which was held on 17-18 October by the LGBTI rights NGO Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia), have been exposed to ongoing harassment and personal threats since the publication of an article about the forum and its participants on 20 October 2015.

PINK Armenia was founded in 2007 to promote public awareness of LGBTI rights and to fight discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They conduct research on the status of LGBTI people in Armenia, cooperating with other NGOs to combat homophobia through public events and publications on social media.

The first Armenian LGBTI forum called “Rainbow” was held by PINK Armenia on 17-18 October in Lori region, aimed at discussing the problems of LGBTI people, developing a strategy to tackle them and steps to fight homophobia in Armenia. Roughly 40 people from the LGBTI community and supporters of LGBTI people took part in the event.

Following on from the forum, on 20 October 2015, PINK Armenia published an article including a picture of the participants, which were distributed by various media sources. Subsequently, those who appeared in the picture have been harassed on social media and in person. They have been publicly name-called and have received death threats. These cases of harassment and threats were documented and sent to General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia for further investigation.

I express my concern over the harassment against members of PINK Armenia and other LGBTI forum participants, and the personal death threats they are facing on social media and in person, and believe these acts to be an attempt to prevent LGBTI rights defenders from carrying out their peaceful and legitimate advocacy in defence of human rights.

I urge the authorities in Armenia to:

1. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of members of PINK Armenia and other participants of the LGBTI forum;

2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against them, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Armenia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

 

Human Rights Defender &  Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes

Email: [email protected]

www.facebook.com/williamnicholasgomes

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