“With that statement, the Chief of Police confessed that the police itself restricts the freedom of assembly and association,” in his talk to LGBTnews said the head of Pink Armenia Mamikon Hovsepyan referring to Valeri Osipyan’s statement that it is not expedient to hold an LGBT Forum in Armenia, after which “New Generation” NGO announced the cancellation of the event.
“By what right does the police determine which assembly is expedient and which is not? The police is trying to justify its action from the point of view of safety. So what? The police, who must ensure the security of peaceful assemblies, in fact acknowledges being a rather weak and powerless structure and therefore limits the freedom of assembly. It also does not respond to the actions of aggressive grouping or of the ones promoting crimes, it has not reacted in any way and have not taken any steps to address threats and crime promotion. They also did not pay attention to the anti-constitutional activity of the church.
In recent months, some structures and groups have been active in spreading discrimination, hate speech, which is unconstitutional and illegal, and the law enforcement system does not react in any way, it is idle. Moreover, they try to use their power only on small gatherings of 40 to 50 people. This is unacceptable,” Mamikon Hovsepyan noted.
To the question on what steps Pink Armenia has taken and is going to take in the current situation, Mamikon Hovsepyan answered, “All violations, hate speech, discriminatory statements are documented in order to proceed. For example, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association will be in Armenia these days, who is already aware of the situation.”
I must say that our international partners are shocked because being impressed by the experience of the peaceful revolution that Armenia has had, either on their way to Armenia, or from far they had other imagination, and now when they see how it regresses, when they see that this government, which came to power due to the right to freedom of assembly, is failing to ensure freedom of assembly, they feel amazed because they came with good impressions, but now the opposite happens.
We will use all possible mechanisms and tools to raise these issues, we will work in different ways with relevant means over the course. The Ethics Commission of the NA, unfortunately, is not working properly and is not reproving the MPs disseminating hatred; Ombudsman seems silent and does not pay proper attention to all that, so the local mechanisms are weak, but, of course, we should always try to run them, we should always try to make them work.
If they are not able, do not want to fulfil or do not know their duties, then at least civil society should force them to reconsider their approaches or simply to leave these seats, giving the place to the people who will work. “