Following the US embassy, UN and Council of Europe statements, the European Union disseminated their statement "on recent expressions of intolerance in the Republic of Armenia" following firebombing of alternative, gay friendly DIY bar in Armenia capital Yerevan, disruption of Diversity march and homophobic hysteria accompanied by endorsement of anti-gay violence and terrorism by some high level officials. [Read an example: Terrorists as ‘national heroes’? Armenia ruling Republican party spokesman and MP explicitly support firebombers of DIY bar in capital Yerevan and encourage anti-gay attacks]
The EU Delegation in Armenia rightly stresses that "discriminatory statements from certain politicians and in particular the proliferation of hate speech are worrying."
In a strongly worded statement, the EU Delegation continues that the "lack of official reaction has the potential to encourage a sense of impunity in radical groups, and even possibly threaten democratic development." They remind Armenia authorities of their international and European human rights commitments and urge them to "uphold their commitments to tolerance and non-discrimination in a manner that adequately addresses intolerance as regards homophobia and transphobia".
*Delegation of the European Union to Armenia
Local EU Statement on recent expressions of intolerance in the Republic of Armenia (29/05/2012)
The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Members States Heads of Mission in Armenia
The EU Delegation recalls that human rights apply equally to all human beings and underlines the value of non-discrimination and protection of human rights.
At the same time, the EU Delegation is concerned about recent developments, which endanger non-discrimination and protection of human rights in Armenia. The firebombing of a pub in Yerevan and the subsequent disruption of the Diversity March – both portrayed as an anti-LGBT * action by certain radical groups, as well as discriminatory statements from certain politicians and in particular the proliferation of hate speech are worrying. These developments have sparked a new debate about the extent of discrimination and tolerance in Armenia.
The lack of official condemnation and the perception of ineffective law enforcement have raised concern among Armenian civil society, Human Rights Defenders and international observers. This lack of official reaction has the potential to encourage a sense of impunity in radical groups, and even possibly threaten democratic development.
Armenia has committed itself to the respect of human rights, inter alia, as a member of the Council of Europe, in the EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1999 and in the EU-Armenia Action Plan of 2006
The EU Delegation calls on the Armenian authorities to uphold their commitments to tolerance and non-discrimination in a manner that adequately addresses intolerance as regards homophobia and transphobia.
The EU Delegation welcomes the alignment of Armenia with the Declaration by the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May 2012.
Yerevan, 25 May 2012.
* Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) persons
[picture of Traian Hristea, head of EU Delegation in Armenia]