July 23, 2015

Armenia’s stance towards recommendations of Universal Periodic Review

During the 29th Regular Session of Human Rights Council, June 25, the state of Armenia presented its official stance towards the recommendations made during the review of the human rights record of Armenia earlier this year.

Large number of recommendations included, among others, adopting and effectively implementing legislation to ensure prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, combating hate propaganda and ensuring that appropriate training is provided to officials, and that law enforcement authorities carry out thorough and prompt investigations regarding attacks on LGBTI persons.

Gladly, most of these recommendations have been supported by the Republic of Armenia, including those related to prohibition of discrimination and discriminatory based activities against LGBT people which were carefully formulated. However, the Republic of Armenia noted one recommendation in which juridical adjustments were requested.

Even so, this small achievement is very important to our work, as it means the acknowledgement by the state of existence of various human rights issues of LGBT people that need to be addressed. The results of this report should be a starting point by the state to undertake necessary measures to improve the lives of LGBT people in Armenia.

To remind, that PINK Armenia, together with partner organizations, had submitted an alternative report for the 21st session of the Universal Periodic Review, where recommendations on prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity had been highly emphasized.

July 22, 2015

Armenia to have a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

On July 15, a state commission formed by President Serzh Sargsyan on publicized its draft constitutional amendments envisaging Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic with a largely ceremonial head of state not elected by popular vote.

Under the new Constitution, the president of the republic will be elected by an electoral college consisting of National Assembly members and representatives of local government bodies. It is widely believed that President Sargsyan has initiated the reform to be able to stay in power in some other capacity after completing his second and final presidential term in 2018.

 Lawmakers discussing plans to amend Armenia's constitution back in 2005 expressed broad support for a ban on same-sex marriages. 10 years later we still witness the same intention. The Constitutional amendments refer to changes for the freedom of marriage. Article 35 of the (current) Constitution of The Republic of Armenia states: Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and found a family according to their free will. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and divorce. Article 34, in contrast, according to the amendments, states: Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry with each other and found a family according to their free will. Thus, the new Constitution is limiting the freedom of marriage to opposite sex, Armenia is to join the countries who have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The draft Constitution is expected to be completed by early August. Subsequently, the draft shall be submitted to the President. If approved, it will be introduced to the National Assembly, and then a Referendum Day will be set.