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EU concerned over “hate speech” against LGBTI community in Armenia

The European Union Delegation and resident EU Member State Embassies have issued a statement, expressing their “grave concern over the recent cases where serious threats, including death threats, have been made against minorities and human rights defenders in Armenia.”
“Hate speech, including death threats directed at Ms. Lilit Martirosyan, her colleagues and the LGBTI community as a whole represent the latest in this worrying trend and amount to discrimination prohibited under the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms to which Armenia is party and which is reflected in the Constitution of Armenia,” the EU said.
The EU called on all in Armenia who promote and believe in the universality of human rights to condemn hate speech and on law enforcement agencies to take urgent steps to guarantee the physical safety of Armenian citizens and to investigate allegations against those suspected of perpetrating hate crimes.
The statement comes in the wake of disputes following transgender woman Lilit Martirosyan’s speech at the National Assembly.
She took the floor at the Parliament last week during the discussion on “National human rights agenda: UN Universal Periodic Review.”
“We are making history today,” said the woman, who introduced herself as Lilit Martirosyan.
She described herself as “the embodiment of a tortured, raped, kidnapped, physically assaulted, burnt, murdered, robbed and unemployed Armenian transgender.”

Naira Zohrabyan from Prosperous Armenia faction, who chaired the sitting, said the speech contradicted the agenda.
“We had three topics – judicial reforms, problems of persons with disabilities and children’s issues.
Zohrabyan said the fact that she used the opportunity to raise an issue not on the agenda is “disrespect.”
“There is no issue of discrimination. No one violates your rights, but you have violated our agenda,” Naira Zohrabyan stated.
The speech was followed by disputes, including among political forces. Addressing the issue today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said “when Lilit Martirosyan was given a passport in 2015, she was granted all rights of the citizen of the Republic of Armenia.”
He further continued: “It was a sitting of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee. Now I am asking you all – is Lilit Martirosyan, who received a passport of the Republic of Armenia, a human being or not? Let everyone answer the question- the clergymen, members of the Republican and Prosperous Armenia Parties and conservatives.”
The Prime Minister added that the behavior of the Chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Human Right [Naira Zohrabyan] questions the state of human rights in Armenia in general.
“I think the Prosperous Armenia Party should think whether its representative is suitable to chair the Committee,” Pashinyan stated.
He described it as a “political provocation against his My Step bloc.

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