On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, 17 May 2016, “New Generation” Humanitarian NGO organized “Initiatives of legislative changes for protection of rights of LGBTI people in Armenia” conference which aimed at raising the level of public awareness on the necessity of those legislative changes that contribute to the development of protection mechanisms of rights of LGBTI people and their integration into the society.
The opening remark was delivered by Sergey Gabrielyan, President of “New Generation” Humanitarian NGO. S. Gabrielyan greatly thanked all the guests and other stakeholders and mentioned that the NGO highly appreciates the adopted policy of European countries and the United States in the establishment of democratic values and mechanisms of human rights protection of LGBTI people in Armenia. Referring to achievements and experience of international cooperation of the NGO in the field of protection of rights of LGBTI people, the NGO President emphasized the importance of collaboration with Armenian authorities. “The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia” aims to identify and raise issues of protection of rights and assurance of equality of LGBTI people worldwide. We, human rights defenders, express our solidarity to LGBTI people in Armenia and our commitment to more comprehensive cooperation with all the interested parties”,- concluded his speech S. Gabrielyan.
Greeting speeches were delivered by Floor Nuiten-Elzinga, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia; Judith Farnworth, the UK’s Ambassador to Armenia; Matthias Kiesler, German Ambassador to Armenia and Larisa Minasyan, Executive director of Open Society Foundations – Armenia. The speakers highlighted the importance of the day in terms of development and enforcement of mechanisms to protect the rights of LGBTI people and establishment of equality as well as referred policies to protect LGBTI rights in European countries and Armenia. The promotion of rights of LGBTI people and equality, the encouragement of decent life and respectful treatment are prioritized by foreign diplomatic agencies in Armenia, thus the speakers expressed willingness to share their experience and practice with other countries preparing anti-discrimination legislation – including Armenia, and their intention to promote equality and tolerance both nationally and internationally.
At the first session “Needs of sex reassignment surgery of transgender people: assessment of legal barriers”, “Legal regulations of sex-change surgeries” and “Military service of GBT / MSM people in the Armed Forces of RA” reports were presented. The following findings were discussed with the representatives of diplomatic, international, state and non-profit institutions and organizations: needs of sex reassignment surgeries; obstacles of their satisfaction, their consequences, preferable ways of addressing the systemic problems of the transgender community. A number of suggestions for legal regulations of sex-change surgeries were also presented, such as investment of legal norms, conditions for implementation of sex-change surgeries, possibilities to make changes in documents of transgender people, legal regulations of surgeries undergone abroad, legal settlements of confidentiality, as well as issues if military service of GBT / MSM people.
At the second session Izabella Sargsyan /Eurasia Partnership Foundation – Armenia/, Hayk Abrahamyan /Open Society Foundations – Armenia/ and Anahit Simonyan /Anti-discrimination Coalition/ talked about the means of prevention of discrimination by non-state actors in Armenia, as well as referred to the achievements and problems of non-governmental organizations in the process of eliminating all kinds of discrimination.
The conference was also attended by Jean-Francois Charpentier, Ambassador of the French Republic in Armenia, representatives from the US Embassy in Armenia, Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, Chamber of Advocates of Armenia, Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, human rights defender organizations and Military Registration And Enlistment Office Of The Republic Of Armenia. Because of business trips or workload representatives of Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and National Assembly did not participate in the conference.
At the end of the discussion the attendees summarized the main issues of protection of rights of LGBTI people and noted that their gradual solution will definitely result in the creation of equality and defense for LGBTI people in Armenia.