May 17th is celebrated annually around the world as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Interphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Each year on this day, New Generation Humanitarian NGO (NGNGO) marks the occasion by organizing different events, such as flash mobs, discussions, press conferences in order to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex people, and all of those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics in Armenia.

This year also, on May 17, 2023, the IDAHOBIT-2023 event was held in the format of a meeting-discussion under the slogan LGBTIQ RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide a platform for state and international institutions, diplomatic missions, LGBTIQ community and community-based NGOs in Armenia for discussing the progress made and actions taken in the fight against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia and transphobia, sharing success stories, raising the existing issues and making the voice of the community heard.

The event comprised three main parts: welcome speeches by the representatives of diplomatic missions and international institutions in Armenia and two panel discussions, with the participation of representatives of state institutions and non-governmental organizations and LGBTIQ community.

Sergey Gabrielyan, President of New Generation Humanitarian NGO delivered an opening speech at the event and expressed his gratitude to the participants of the meeting for accepting the invitation and highlighted the importance of the fight against stigma and discrimination prevailing in the country against LGBTIQ people, on the road to democracy in Armenia.

 “Today we are in an internal and external turmoil, so it is very important that in that process we do not lose our determination not only to have a PEACEFUL and SAFE country, but also to PRESERVE DEMOCRATIC VALUES”, noted Sergey Gabrielyan.

In the context of absence of state programs related to the rights and issues of LGBTIQ people, Mr. Gabrielyan also emphasized the importance of support from international and diplomatic structures for the Armenian LGBTIQ community.

Next, the representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations present at the meeting – Natia Natsvlishvili, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Armenia, H.E.M. Kristina Kvien, US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia, H.E. John Gallagher, British Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia, H.E.M. Anne Louyot, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Armenia, H.E.M. Mariano Vergara, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Argentina to Armenia, Jan Plesinger , Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Klas Waldenström, Deputy Head of the Swedish Embassy to Armenia made welcome speeches and reaffirmed the commitment of their missions to support the fight against stigma and discrimination, homophobia, transphobia  and biphobia in Armenia. 

The meeting was also attended by H.E. Petr Pirunčík, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to Armenia, Ms. Martina Schmidt, Head of Council of Europe office in Yerevan, Andrei Arjupin, Head of Protection Unit of UNHCR Representation in Armenia, Ms. Joanne Fairley, Country director of USA Peace Corps in  Armenia,  UNAIDS, Political and Economic Office of the U.S. Embassy,  Doctors Without Borders NGO, World of Doctors NGO directors and representatives, Heghine Yengoyan, Human Rights Defender Assistant of Armenia, representatives of the Global Fund Program Coordination Team of the Ministry of Health of  Armenia, Naira Sultanyan, head of the Democracy Development Fund, and representatives of other international, local and diplomatic institutions.

After the welcome speeches, the invitees and representatives of the community had a chance to address their questions to and receive answers from the representatives of the diplomatic missions.

Thereafter, the first panel discussion on the activities and cooperation between the state, local and international institutions in the fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in Armenia commenced with participation of Naira Sergeeva, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist of the Global Fund Program Coordination Team, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, Roza Babayan, UNAIDS Country Manager, Armenia, Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, Head of the Group of Public Monitors Implementing Supervision over the Criminal-Executive Institutions and Bodies of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, Arman Sahakyan, Senior adviser on LGBTIQ and faith intersection at New  Generation Humanitarian NGO, Nare Hovhannisyan, Center for Legal Initiatives NGO President, Camelia Kandiliani, National Trans Coalition NGO President, Sevak Kirakosyan, Fearless Human Rights NGO representative. The participants of the discussion touched upon the progress achieved and actions implemented by their institutions in the fight against homophobia, biphobia, interphobia and transphobia, talked about the existing issues and gaps, as well as the ways of cooperation aimed at their solution.

In the concluding part of the event, the representatives of the LGBTIQ community spoke about the issues of and difficulties faced by LGBTIQ youth, trans persons, LGBTIQ refugees, people living with HIV in Armenia, touched upon their struggles and success stories.

The event was held by New Generation Humanitarian NGO, with financial support of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.