On Monday Armenia hosts Council of Europe conference on "Combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance in Europe".
Just to remind that racism and ‘blood purity‘ are part of the ideology of ruling Republican party.
Earlier foreign minister Nalbandyan “told the Assembly that the Armenian Chairmanship is supporting the No Hate speech Movement” (source). What? Supporting "no hate speech movement"?! Needless to say that Armenia has no hate speech or hate crime legislation. It's all words. One face for the outside world, the very different one - for internal consumption.
In reality, high level Armenian officials condone anti-gay attacks, stir-up nationalism, intolerance, hate speech, xenophobia and racism.
This legal vacuum was clearly illustrated in May 2012 with the attack on gay-friendly bar DIY. This fuelled a rise in violence against the LGBT community, including by high profile politicians from the ruling Republican party, as well as church representatives and local media, which frequently relay messages of homophobic impunity (Yes to domestic violence and Yes to attacking gays).
The notion of diversity was once again attacked few days later, when neo-nazi elements attacked Diversity march to mark United Nation’s World Day of Cultural Diversity. They were encouraged by endorsement of homophobic hysteria and anti-gay violence on a very high state level that followed firebombing of DIY bar.
Other examples? Repeated attempts to hold Azeri film festival in Armenia sparked hatred and xenophobia, with direct physical attacks and abundance of hate speech.
More examples? More recent ones? In abundance.
Here is perhaps the most outrageously bizarre one. Deputy sports/youth minister of Armenia, neo-nazi Asryan claimed that opposition MP Zaruhi Postanjian should be burnt alive (!) for her CoE question. And... nothing. Still holds his position. No criminal proceeding. No challenge from the human rights ombudsman. No nothing. You would think that MPs from ruling party of the Council of Europe chairmanship country would retract the insults, reprimand their colleague at the very least? Nope. Pro-Government MPs Stand By Insults with more racist and xenophobic comments.
Of course, there was no challenge from the ombudsman because he himself was busy flirting with neo-nazi. Armenia human rights ombudsman targets trans sex workers and cites neo-nazi website as a basis for his statement.
More? There have been direct threats on Armenian Facebook to attack women rights and activists as part of 'gender equality' law hysteria. And the very latest demonstration of hatred by groups linked to certain elements within the ruling regime and Russia. A demonstration headed by high level priests against the law on gender equality and against human rights of LGBT people. This instantly reminded of ‘taburetka syndrom’ observed in Tbilisi earlier this year.
*picture - as shared on FB
The above are only few examples. This list can go on and on.
Before hosting such forums, first and foremost Armenia authorities must ensure in-house their determination and actions - not words or signatures, but real life actions - to combat intolerance, hate speech, xenophobia and racism. Right now, Armenia is not necessarily an oasis of tolerance in the region. It could have been. But it's not.
What we are witnessing with hosting such conference is a text-book example of hypocrisy.
So when you read headlines about this conference hosted by Armenia authorities, repeat after me: hypocrisy.
Group of human rights activists intend to hold a protest action in front of the conference venue on Monday, exposing hypocrisy of the ruling regime in Armenia.
FB event (AM): Հոկտեմբերի 21-22ը Երևանի Մարիոթ Արմենիա հյուրանոցում տեղի կունենա "Պայքար Եվրոպայում խտրականության, այլատյացության և անհանդուրժողականության դեմ" միջազգային խորհրդաժողով: Նույն օրը առավոտյան 10:15-ին Մարիոթ Արմենիա հյուրանոցի դիմաց վերոնշյալ խնդրով մտահոգ Հայաստանի ակտիվ քաղաքացինները իրենց բողոքի ձայնը կբարձրացնեն Հայաստնում իշխանությունների կողմից իրականացվող խտրականության, այլատյացության և անհանդուրժողականության դեմ: