The political alliances running for the elections and the issue of LGBTI persons’ rights.

There are Parliamentary Elections on 2 April in Armenia. The following 9 political units take part in the elections: The Republican Party of Armenian (RPA), The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), The Armenian revival party, Free Democrats party, The Communist party of Armenia, as well as “Yelk” (Exit), “Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan”, “Tsarukyan”, and Armenian National Congress (ANC)- Peoples party of Armenia alliances.

Those political units have already presented their pre-election projects to the public. LGBTnews has explored the opinions in the projects referring to LGBTI person’s rights. Apart from it, LGBTnews tried to find out the official opinions of those parties about confirming LGBTI persons’ rights.

We should recall that it’s the first parliamentary election in Armenia after legislative referendum. During the referendum LGBTI persons’ rights were discussed for many times. The reason of that was the reformulation of Clause 35 in the legislation. LGBTnews published a detailed article which can be read here.

LGBTI people’s rights are clearly mentioned only in one of the above mentioned  9 political units’ pre-election projects: in the project of the Communist party of Armenia.

In the “Internal politics” part of “Pre-election project fundamentals” of the Communist party of Armenia, together with other points, it’s mentioned: “To carry on a consistent struggle against various newly came “Western” phenomena in Armenia like homosexuality, homosexual marriages, transgenderity and fight against those displays which are strange for our mentality and traditions”, and as a continuation it’s written: “Be quite alert and fight against activation of Western powers which are preparing Revolutions as they cannot serve our national interests and wishes”.

According to the Communist party of Armenia, strengthening and developing military- political relations with “Russia and the Collective Security Treaty organization (CSTO)” is primary for our foreign relations and it’s a big problem for the Armenian Army to deepen military cooperation between “Russian Federation military forces in the frameworks of CSTO”.

The Communists also mention in their project: “Western Armenia is a part of Armenian people cradle, historical Homeland”. Thus homophobia and transphobia of the Communist party of Armenia is based on national-conservative and foreign political orientation highlighted by pro-Russian ideology.

LGBTI persons and their rights aren’t mentioned in the pre-election project of the Republican Party of Armenian. Among minorities only disabled people and the protection of their rights are referred in the project.

It’s pointed in the project that Republicans are going to rely upon “values of traditional and strong family”. “Traditional values” are noted in the text for a few times. The part about human rights is the following: “Human rights are a strongly formed value system. The Representatives of Armenian citizens such as Armenians, Yezidis, Russians, Assyrians, the Kurd, Greeks and other national minorities have opportunity for their full self-expression.” That is to say, only national groups are mentioned in the context of human rights, and moreover it’s mentioned with an imperative statement that they all have opportunity for their full self-expression. Expressions such as “The Armenian nation”, “Armenians worldwide” are referred for several times in the text. The pre-election project of the Republican Party is based on national-conservative ideology, and besides the national one is mentioned in Ethno-national context. 

LGBTnews had interviews for years with not only RPA well known deputies, government representatives but also with not so popular ones and none of them spoke for the protection of LGBTI persons’ rights.

LGBTnews wrote a letter to the Republican Party during the Pre-election period suggesting presenting their opinion on LGBTI people to the public through interview. However we haven’t received response to our letter yet. Our attempts to have oral interviews with the RPA official representatives during the pre-election period didn’t succeed as well with the exception of candidate for Deputy Gevorg Kostanyan. The RPA refused to answer the questionnaire of “Partnership for Open Society” initiative, where one of the questions referred to the LGBTI persons’ rights.

Only disabled people from minority groups were mentioned in the pre-election project of “Tsarukyan” alliance. You can meet the word “right” twice in the text in the context of “patients’ rights” to get education. What refers to foreign relations, “Tsarukyan” alliance is in favor of developing and deepening Armenian-Russian friendly military relations as well as their active participation in the frameworks of Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty organization (CSTO). However, the alliance also seeks to “have constructive participation” in European integration processes. It’s hard to say what is the base of “Tsarukyan” alliance‘s pre-election project ideology, since it seems to be a mixture of different ideology streams.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation answered “yes” to the question of “Cooperation for the Sake of Open Society” initiative questionnaire whether or not they agree that homosexual people should have the same rights as other citizens.

However, LGBTI persons’ rights aren’t mentioned in the pre-election project of Dashnaktsutyun party as well.

Trough oral interview with the PR manager of the party LGBTnews tried to make clear the official approach of Dashnaktsutyun party towards LGBTI persons’ specific rights but didn’t succeed. Moreover, the party spokesperson got annoyed about publicizing their answers of the survey of “Cooperation for the Sake of Open Society” initiative including the answer of the question on LGBTI person’s rights.

The party hasn’t reacted to our questionnaire sent to their official e-mail address. Earlier deputy of the party Armen Rustamyan had made some homophobe statements.

In their pre-election project Dashnaktsutyun party stands as a “national, democratic, socialistic and revolutionary party”. 

In the pre-election project of Armenian National Congress alliance only national groups are referred among minority groups. The protection of all citizens’ rights is of great importance in the project.

During pre-election period the official opinion of the alliance on adopting LGBTI person’s rights was expressed by Arman Musinyan in the interview with LGBTnews.

Earlier LGBTnews had interviews with Party vice-presidents Aram Manukyan and Levon Zurabyan, as well as Deputy Gagik Jhangiryan. The Armenian National Congress is a social-liberal party.

“Yelk” also answered “yes” to the question of “Cooperation for the Sake of Open Society” initiative questionnaire on LGBTI person’s rights. However there is nothing about those rights in the pre-election project of the alliance.

During pre-election period Alen Simonyan officially answered to the questions on adopting LGBTI person’s rights in the interview with LGBTnews.

“Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan” alliance also gave a positive answer to the above mentioned question. The official representative of the alliance Hovsep Khurshudyan answered to LGBTnews questions. However, LGBTI persons’ rights aren’t mentioned in its pre-election project.

LGBTI persons’ rights aren’t mentioned in the pre-election project of the Armenian revival party. The party didn’t answer to the questionnaire of “Cooperation for the Sake of Open Society” initiative, as well as didn’t reply to the questions officially sent them by LGBTnews.

Free Democrats party finds that LGBTI persons should have the same rights as other citizens. This is how they answered to the question of the initiative.

LGBTnews offered the Party to express its opinion on LGBTI persons’ rights publicly through interview. Free Democrats replied to our letter very late yesterday in the evening, the last day of pre-election campaign. It’s mainly written: “Free Democrats party is always ready to listen to, discuss and raise the problems of any citizen of the Republic of Armenia. Because of objective reasons related to the campaign schedule we apologize. Please send the questionnaire via e-mail”. LGBTnews sent the questionnaire today, but we haven’t got any reply at the moment of publishing this article. As soon as we receive the answer LGBTnews will publish them even after Parliamentary Elections. Earlier we had talked to the first person on Free Democrat’s list Khachatur Qoqobelyan.