LGBT Activists Attacked in Shurnukh Village

Nine people, mostly LGBT activists, were assaulted in the village of Shurnukh in Armenia’s Syunik province on August 3, reported Pink Armenia, a community-based LGBT organization.

Eyewitnesses say that more than 30 people from the village attacked nine LGBTQ activists and beat them. Following the incident, two people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Elvira Meliksteyan, an LGBTQ activist who was among the victims told that several hours before the attack, two men arrived at the house where they were staying and shouted homophobic slurs and threats.

The crowd of roughly 30 attackers hit and kicked the victims while shouting “gays get lost” and “you are Turks”.

The former mayor of Shurnukh Hakob Arshakyan informed “Hay Dzayn” that the nine-member group tried to bring attention to themselves and make noise.

According to Arshakyan, displeased by the ruckus, the neighbors came out to the street, an altercation started, and both sides hurt each other.

The activists called the police, who issued a statement, noting that a group of residents of Shurnukh village demanded the LGBT group leave the village because “they were homosexuals.” A forensic examination was appointed on the case.

In Armenia, Article 29, RA Constitution, adopted on December 2015 says that “Discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic characteristics, language, religion, worldview, political or other views, belonging to an ethnic minority, status of property ownership, origin, disability, age or other private or social factors, is prohibited.”

In 2017, PINK Armenia documented 30 cases of violations of rights on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These violations were accompanied by discrimination. Officials opened investigations in several cases, but the law does not include anti-LGBT bias as an aggravating circumstance.

Fear of discrimination and public disclosure of their sexual orientation prevents many LGBT people from reporting crimes.

Referring to the incident, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender’s office said that necessary legal steps will be initiated by the office.

Read more:

Human Rights Situation of LGBT People, Annual Review Armenia, 2017

Human Rights Watch, World Report 2018