“The decision of European Court of Human Rights against Russia was a powerful blow to the common propaganda trick to justify the restrictions of human rights of LGBTI persons in post-soviet countries, which neglects not only the essence of human rights, but also the facts that had been scientifically proved already in the previous century”, – Hasmik Petrosyan, a lawyer at Pink Armenia NGO, told LGBTnews.
We should recall that a few days ago, the ECHR, examining the case of “Baev and others against Russian Federation”, decided that the so-called “ban on gay propaganda”, adopted in Russia, violates the right to freedom of expression and is discriminative.
“The point is specifically about the notion of “homosexuality propaganda”, by which an attempt is made to justify any restriction on the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the enjoyment of the right to be free from discrimination. With these and other similar expressions, using the words “non-traditional”, “family”, “morality”, the authorities, that came to power in a non-democratic way, flattering the majority, try to legitimize their working style refraining from any mass rebellion against human rights violations. The use of such populist mechanisms not only sows intolerance and hostility against different groups of society, but also makes it impossible to properly exercise human rights in practice”, – highlights Hasmik Petrosyan.
The lawyer notes that though there is no limitations on the rights of LGBTI people through laws in Armenia today, experience shows that this does not prevent state authorities from violating the fundamental rights of LGBTI persons with the same populist justification.
As a vivid example, Petrosyan indicates the dismantlement of social advertisements, sowing tolerance towards LGBTI people, by the Municipality of Yerevan several days ago.
“As it is known, the positions expressed in the ECHR decisions are applicable not only in a particular country where the verdict has been passed, but also in other member states of the Council of Europe as an interpretation of human rights enforcement mechanisms, opportunities and their limitations.
In this case, ECHR positions against the actions of the Yerevan Municipality in the Administrative Court can once again reinforce the justification, that restrictions on the right to free expression cannot be explained by such statements, as complaints of others or being unacceptable for the public. And this in the case, when the obligation to sow respect and tolerance towards human rights lays on the same state and government, which hides behind the situations that have emerged as a result of its own failures.
As we have already mentioned, Pink Armenia is going to appeal to the Administrative Court against the actions of Yerevan Municipality, and the result can also be such decisions of the European Court. I think, the state should use the opportunity given to it at this stage and prevent the next shameful decision against the Republic of Armenia”, – highlights Hasmik Petrosyan.