PUBLIC STATEMENT REGARDING THE ATTACK ON 9 YOUNG PEOPLE IN SHURNUKH VILLAGE

“Right Side” non-governmental organization condemns the incident of violence and hate crime through psychological and physical abuse against the lives and health of nine young people in the village Shurtukh, in Syunik province.
On August 3, 2018, local people from Shurnukh surrounded the house where 9 young people, some of them LGBT people were at the moment, making hate speech and shouting threats towards them in that way trying to push them out of their home because of their appearance and assumed sexual orientation. Nearly 30 locals attacked 9 young people hitting them with stones. Before that, the victims called the police, which arrived in 1.5 hour delay, despite the death threats towards the victims.
One of them said, “It was just terrible. When they surround you, throw stones on you, insult you, and you’ve already put up with dying, and then you read the comments that you did not get enough, they should still burn you, make you apart, kill you. After all you get upset and devastated. Believe me, I won’t like the most homophobic person to live that 1.5 hours we did.”
The incident in Shurnukh brought a hot discussion in social networks. A lot of people express the LGBT-phobic attitude towards the victims, justifying violence, threatening, and calling for hate speech. Even politicians have spoken about this incident. Gevorg Petrosyan, a member of the Prosperous Armenia Party, a member of the Tsarukyan fraction of the National Assembly, commented: “… With our joint efforts we should push (mildly speaking) homosexuals, sectarians and their defenders out of our sacred country.” We consider this kind of comment by a politician unacceptable and condemn an arbitrary type of threat, hate speech or discrimination against LGBT people. Such calls propagate discrimination and hatred, promoting the creation of an atmosphere of impunity and sowing segregation.
“Right Side” human rights NGO expresses its support to the people who were attacked in the village of Shurnukh. We demand an impartial, fair, impartial investigation of the case from the RA state bodies and a punitive penalty for the guilty. At the same time, once again, we call RA authorities to promptly express political will by improving the protection of LGBT people and stop the threats of politicians addressed to LGBT people

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