A number of non-governmental organizations have disseminated a joint announcement on one of the regular programs of “Half Open Windows” TV show.
During the regular ATV program “Half Open Windows” on February 19, 2016 (Zhuzhu from Daralik), Edgar, the hero of the show, stated that he cannot find a job because of being homosexual and considered this kind of attitude towards him to be a discrimination. Lawyer Garik Galikyan was also an expert of the program. Throughout the whole program, Galikyan shouted, made speech violating human dignity and spreading hatred. Particularly: “I have always, always and always struggled against them, continue struggling and will struggle. Whenever I see them, I will trample over them and, yes, they (referring to homosexual persons) should be burnt. You can bring a criminal case against me, you can report”, and so on. He also added: “Yes, know that I persecute you, and I will always persecute the ones like you. Moreover, not the psychologist, but me told to burn them. It’s a threat, you can report”.
Another guest of the program, director Sargis Mikayelyan, said in his speech: “With a hammer I will break the head of the person who will give you a job. My child is walking in the streets of Yerevan, and he doesn’t want to meet a phenomenon like you”.
These are not just calls for hatred, but also threats to person’s life and health, which itself should be in the spotlight of the police.
We are also concerned that the offenses made during the TV show have been done by the advocate. According to Code of Advocate’s Conduct of RA, advocacy is a human rights defense activity, and the advocate should not perform such actions that may cast doubt on his reputation, honesty and immunity. Meanwhile, lawyer Garik Galikyan’s behavior shows that not only he does not respect RA citizens who are homosexual and those professionals who are involved in the protection of their rights, but also shows disrespect towards the advocacy institute sullying the reputation of advocate’s profession in our society.
Based on the above-mentioned, we, as advocates for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Armenia, condemn the behavior of the representative of the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia against the program hero, LGBT persons, people and organizations involved in the protection of human rights, and we demand from:
- RA police to admit this statement as a report on the crimes committed by lawyer Garik Galikyan and director Sargis Mikaelyan considering the statements made by them as threats directed against person’s life and health.
- Chairperson of the RA Chamber of Advocates Ara Zohrabyan to conduct disciplinary proceedings against lawyer Garik Galikyan for violating Advocate’s Code of Conduct.
- “A-TV” company to refrain from broadcasting programs that contain hate speech and discrimination.
“We call on local and international human rights organizations to condemn the above-mentioned manifestations of hatred by joining this statement”, – it’s said in the announcement.
“Agathe Center for Women with Special Needs”, “Open Society Foundations – Armenia”, “Real World, Real People”, “Women’s Resource Center”, “Cooperation for Democracy”, “Armenian Helsinki Committee”, “Public Information and Need for Knowledge”, “Society Without Violence”, “Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office”, “New Generation” humanitarian and “Unison” NGOs, Medialab and initiative for “Equal Rights” joined the announcement.