Armenia is the second worst country in Europe for LGBTI rights
An LGBTI Christian group canceled an upcoming event in Armenia after receiving violence and death threats.
The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups and the ‘New Generation’ Humanitarian NGO scheduled a four-day conference in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, starting 15 November.
However, in the last several days, there have been a wave of extremist and homophobic acts targeted at the event.
According to a press release, vandals damaged the New Generation director’s car. Aggressors have also been following group members hoping to find out the venue of the Forum.
Forum participants have received death threats, both from politicians and from armed extremists aspiring to become ‘heroes of the nation’ by murdering LGBTI people.
Last week, several foreign tourists were also beaten up after being mistaken for participants of the event.
The organizers of the event say they’re afraid for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.
They also state: ‘The protection offered by the police is insufficient.’
Although homosexuality is legal in Armenia, attitudes towards LGBTI people are largely negative.
A 2012 study found 55% of correspondents in Armenia would cease their relationship with a friend or relative if they came out as gay.
Armenia consistently places toward the bottom of European countries when it comes to LGBTI rights. This year, they were second worse and last year, they were third worse.
‘Deep regret and grief’
The organizers of the event apologized to anyone who has been affected by the cancelation.
They said they wish to express their ‘deep regret and grief’ over having to cancel the event for LGBTI Christians.
The organizers also expressed their ‘profound disappointment’ with the current government of Armenia for not doing more.
They said: ‘The government has taken no steps to put the human rights of minorities on its agenda.
‘Currently, it has offered no authentic support to the Forum and has prioritised its local political agenda over protecting this peaceful networking event.
‘We will continue to care for LGBTI persons of faith,’ they added.
The organizers say they will be back next year, but have not yet decided where.
They encourage LGBTI people of faith to ‘devote a special time of prayer’ on 18 November – the closing day of the now cancelled Forum. This is to ‘pray for the LGBTI persons in Armenia, their safety, freedom and rights.
by James Besanvalle
Source – Gay Star News