Armenian Activists Attempt to Break down the Stereotypes of Minorities
The three-year Human Rights for Diversity and Equality Program launched in Armenia in January, 2015. It aims to enhance the protection of human rights in the country, with the target groups being sexual, religious and ethnic minorities.

Sergey Gabrielyan, head of the New Generation Humanitarian NGO, presented the program. A hotline already operates, a series of trainings for human rights defenders and media will ensue. “Besides, we will hold a competition for media and award the media that will manage to impartially cover issues of vulnerable groups.”

Rights of minority representatives are frequently violated in Armenia, says Liana Manusajyan, lawyer at the New Generation Humanitarian NGO. Thus, the program, Liana Manusajyan said, aims to provide consultancy and legal support at the court if needed. “Discrimination against vulnerable groups in Armenia often grows into violence,” she said, adding homosexuals have to face discrimination on the job market.

Within the first three months of the program it already has 50 beneficiaries who attend the center and get legal consultancy. The trainings and discussions within the program sought to break down the stereotypes. “We will try to get rid of stereotypes and provide both legal and psychological consultancy to our beneficiaries,” said Liana Hayrapetyan, project coordinator at the Human Rights for Diversity and Equality Program. 

The speakers stressed representatives of vulnerable groups have to suffer discrimination especially in the service sector. “Homosexuals are more vulnerable, particularly in regions where people all know one another. They are forced to migrate to Yerevan and without finding a niche here, they leave Armenia. The attitude in general is negative and it is displayed even in media and social networks. Besides, it is a part of the state approach,” Sergey Gabrielyan said.

The alarms are always studied and followed, Liana Manusajyan noted. “We get alarms and record them and later get in touch with the person whose rights have been violated. The violation case is studied, so are the facts. So far we have achieved a solution in eight cases.”

The program intends to carry out research of the Armenian legislation and make proposals to the authorities. However, Sergey Gabrielyan believes to achieve more efficient protection of rights of vulnerable groups it is first of all political will that now lacks.

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