The Government of the Republic of Armenia has made certain steps to introduce changes to the legislation discriminating against PLWH, gay men, other MSM and trans people, however, in the current legislation there are still many regulations, which contradict the requirements of the international human rights treaties signed by the Republic of Armenia.
This is stipulated in «Legislative analysis related to LGBT rights and HIV in Armenia».
According to the analysis, criminal responsibility for same-sex relations was cancelled in Armenia in 2002; restrictions for people living with HIV to enter the country were abolished in 2011. Besides, amendments to the Law “On the freedom of assembly” to restrict the powers of law enforcers for uncontrolled interventions into implementation of the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly have already been developed and are awaiting the approval.
The fact that in the Criminal Code there are provisions stipulating responsibility for HIV transmission as a separate offence increases the stigmatization of people living with HIV. Failure to divide such responsibility for intended and unintended HIV transmission and criminal responsibility applied even in cases when the transmission has not taken place leads to misuse of such regulations and non-disclosure of the HIV status.
There are concerns related to high vulnerability of trans people and lack of the procedures of both gender reassignment and legal gender recognition, which not only increases the stigmatization of trans people in the society but also leads to the numerous cases of their discrimination. It should be noted that there is a growth in the level of homophobic and transphobic violence and failure of the respective agencies to properly qualify and effectively investigate such cases. LGBT are not only subject to permanent insults and attacks, most of them have to conceal their status to ensure their personal safety.
In Armenia, as opposed to the heterosexual couples, whose status is regulated in the Constitution and in the Law “On family”, the needs of same-sex couples in Armenia are not satisfied, whereas, as pointed out by the practice of the European Court, such needs are fundamental to regulate and ensure stable relations in a couple, such as mutual financial support, maintenance obligations and the right of inheritance. Besides, with no registration of same-sex partnerships and/or marriages, members of such families have restricted access or no access to each other in cases of arrest, confinement; they have no possibility to make decisions on emergency health care, etc. Restriction of such rights also makes it impossible for a same-sex couple to adopt a child as a family. The law guarantees all the above-mentioned rights of heterosexual couples, even if their marriage is not registered, but does not provide any of such rights to same-sex couples, which is discriminating and may be interpreted as an interference with their family life.
To improve Armenia’s legislation and measures to eliminate discrimination against PLWH, gay men, other MSM and trans people, ECOM recommends:
- To develop and adopt comprehensive antidiscrimination laws, with explicit protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
- To develop and approve amendments to the Family Code to regulate the legal status of same-sex families, in particular in terms of their right to adoption.
- To introduce changes to the Order of the Ministry of Health on blood donation and remove gay men and other MSM from the list of risk groups.
- To develop and formalize in the legislation a unified mechanism of gender reassignment with a possibility for legal change of gender marker.
- Amendments should be introduced into the provisions of the Armenian Criminal Code concerning the punishment imposed for hate crimes, with an article containing a list of aggravating circumstances to ensure the effective investigation of crimes caused by homophobia and transphobia. Besides, there is a need in systematic awareness-raising activities for law enforcers and judges.
- Within implementation of the national strategy of response to the HIV epidemic, it is important for the Republic of Armenia to pay attention to systematic funding of the NGOs working with PLWH, gay men, other MSM and trans people.
Find full text here «Legislative analysis related to LGBT rights and HIV in Armenia».
Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM) conducted an analysis of national legislation in five countries of the EECA region – Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia.
The goal of this review is to identify the legal barriers for people living with HIV, gay men, other men who have sex with men and trans people in exercising their rights in different areas. To conduct such review, ECOM developed a methodology and a survey questionnaire, which we filled in with the help of our local partners. When analyzing legal practices, consideration was given both to judicial practices and to the information provided by activists, received from the organizations documenting cases of human rights violations and protection of such rights, news in mass media, and reports of non-governmental organizations submitted to the international agencies.
Both legislation and law enforcement practices were analyzed in terms of their compliance with the international and European standards. Besides, we analyzed the recommendations received by Armenia within the international monitoring mechanisms as well as performance of such recommendations by the government.
To present information on the legislation currently in force, in this review we used extracts from the regulatory documents, which are, unfortunately, not always correct and fail to comply with the international politically correct terminology standards. In this case, the original wording is presented to ensure objective demonstration of the existing regulatory framework and the language used in the matters analyzed. All quotations from the regulatory documents are given in quotation marks.