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LGBT Conference in Armenia Cancelled Due to Violence

by Redaktie in General , 23 December 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups and the humanitarian NGO "New Generation" in Yerevan, Armenia, were forced to announce that the Forum of LGBT Christians in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was cancelled. The organizers are saddened and deeply disappointed that political violence, death threats and vandalism directed towards LGBTIs constitute a serious threat to the safety of the participants.

The Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has been organized since 2004 in several countries in the region (Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Moldova, Romania). The Forum is attended by around 60-70 people varying from LGBTI Christians, activists, church pastors and psychologists, and focusses on intensive networking, discussion and exchange sessions, as well as prayer meetings. In September 2017, Yerevan, Armenia, was chosen as host city for 2018.

Violence and Death Threats Against the Forum

Lately in Armenia, the conference has attracted a wave of extremist and homophobic acts. In order to increase their chances in the coming elections, the political parties that have been in the opposition since the revolution in April 2018 have been trying to radicalise right-wing conservatives against the group of activists who were coming to Yerevan for the Forum.

The Humanitarian NGO "New Generation" was forced to suspend its activities after the director's car was destroyed and members were aggressively pursued in attempts to discover the location of the Forum. Participants have received death threats from politicians and armed extremists, hoping to become the "hero of the nation" by murdering LGBT people.

A number of foreign tourists, who were mistaken for Forum participants, have been physically attacked. The local LGBTI community fears for its own safety and that of their families. The police do not provide sufficient protection.

In light of this information the European Forum and the "New Generation" have decided to cancel this year's conference. The organizations have expressed their deep disappointment with the current government of Armenia. The recent revolution of Love and Solidarity promised real democratic reforms. To date the government has done nothing to put the human rights of minorities on its agenda or to ensure the safety of human rights activists.

The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups

The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups is an ecumenical Christian union of LGBT groups from all over Europe. The European Forum is trying to achieve equality and inclusiveness for LGBTI people in and by Christian churches and other religious institutions. With about 40 member groups from more than 20 European countries, the European Forum is striving for freedom of religion for LGBTIs, for human rights, for dignity and for an open discussion about human sexuality. Since July 2016, the European Forum has had participatory status in the Council of Europe.



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