A new Criminal Codex project has been put online, with 90% of those who have voted being against the bill" />

Armenia floats issue of banning discrimination based on sexual orientation

A new Criminal Codex project has been put online, with 90% of those who have voted being against the bill

Photo: Gevorg Kazaryan, JAMnews

Armenia has put forward the idea of banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

A new Criminal Codex project has been put up online at e-draft.am for public discussion; 90% of those who have voted have already come out against the bill. The legislative project has especially irritated nationalists who call it not only immoral, but also anti-state. However, law experts and the LGBT community say that their position in Armenia is vulnerable and their rights need to be protected on a legislative basis.

In Article 197 of the bill, the expression ‘sexual orientation’ is used, and a punishment is set for direct or indirect rights’ violations, freedoms and legal interests of a person based on their sexual orientation.

The punishment may be in the form of a fine up to twenty times the minimum wage, up to 80 hours of community service, or with a prison sentence of up to two years.

“This is an attempt on a state level to introduce blackmail and tools of repression. And if they want to criminalize this phenomenon despite societal opinion, that means that this is the introduction of instruments of blackmail and terror,” said the head of the All-Armenian Parents Committee, Arman Boshyan.

He said that in his time there was a similar legislative initiative which gave rise to much noise and as a result was put aside. Moreover, Boshyan believes it would be difficult to determine whether discrimination took place or not.

According to the words of the LGBT community, their rights are not only not protected but also oppressed.

“Who doesn’t know that the most vulnerable social group in Armenia is the transgender community? When you try to change something in the reality around you but it doesn’t work out, there is nothing left to do but to physically remove yourself from that space.

“Especially when you see that on one side its you and a few other people, and on the other side, the overwhelming majority. The level of discrimination, threats, hatred and rights’ violations in Armenia is so high it is unbelievable,” says the two-time European champion of weightlifting, a record-setter and two-time global bronze winning medalist Mel Daluzyan, who is transgender. Daluzyan has been living in the Netherlands for a year.

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