More than two-dozen prominent Armenians in the Diaspora have signed a statement supporting equality and justice for all in Armenia. Among the signatories are poet Diana Der Hovanessian, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, actor and producer Arsinée Khanjian, musician Serge Tankian, and photographer Scout Tufankjian. This array of Armenian artists, intellectuals and professionals felt moved to release this statement in the light of anti-gay legislation that was recently proposed in Yerevan.
"We, the undersigned, write to support democratic and human rights for all in Armenia. We are disturbed by the May 8 firebombing of the gay-friendly bar DIY and the subsequent vandalism of the space. Attacks on the May 21st Cultural Diversity march in Yerevan by a few hundred “neo-fascists,” some wearing swastikas, lead us to fear that the democratic nature of Armenian society is threatened. Though police have done an admirable job of maintaining order over the course of the attacks, the government has not responded directly to the incidents, nor produced a clear message of tolerance for diversity. Some members of the Armenian government have even made statements condoning these attacks, going so far as to claim that such violence against LGBT Armenians is a means of protecting “the national ideology.”
We stand with the United Nations, the United States Embassy, Amnesty International, the Armenian Ombudsman, the European Union and the Council of Europe in calling for the Armenian government to act in alignment with global human rights values. We call on President Serzh Sargsyan, his administration, members of Parliament, and all local governing leaders to honor the constitutional right of each citizen of the Armenian Republic to be treated with dignity and respect."
Nancy Agabian, Shushan Avagyan, Arlene Avakian, Peter Balakian, Anna Barseghian, Eve Beglarian, Eric Bogosian, Chris Bohjalian, Diana Der Hovanessian, Gregory Djanikian, Atom Egoyan, Aris Janigian, TJ Jourian, Nina Katchadourian, David Kherdian, Nancy Kricorian, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Marc Nichanian, Meline Toumani, Hrag Vartanian
Photo: Anahit Hayrapetan