From January of this year, Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO has launched a new project with the financial support provided by the Equality Fund’s “Prepare, Respond and Care” program to provide support to LGBTIQ persons displaced from Artsakh, seeking asylum in RA or people, who are in extremely difficult conditions.

During the previous year, the Armenian population of Artsakh was displaced from its permanent place of residence and found refuge in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. According to the statistical data published by the RA government, the total number of people displaced from Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia in 2023 is 100,625, who were resettled in the capital city of Yerevan and the regions of the Republic of Armenia. Additionally, as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and the passage of a new anti-trans law in Russia that completely bans any “medical intervention to change a person’s sex” and invalidates legal gender recognition for trans people in official documents and in public records, as well as beacuse the connection to LGBTIQ movement is considered extremism, many Russian and Ukrainian LGBTIQ people have also left their country and sought refuge in Armenia. According to statistical data, at least 300,000 people immigrated from Russian to Armenia since 2022.

All this and other regional conflicts have resulted in an intense social crisis faced by resettled people, including many Trans LGBIQ people, who, in addition to social and financial difficulties, are also burdened with stigma and discrimination, making them even more vulnerable, and their reintegration process even more difficult. To provide proper assistance, Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of resettled individuals. The analysis revealed that many LGBTIQ people face challenges with high rental prices and difficulty finding work due to their gender expression and language barriers. Many LGBTIQ people are excluded from social assistance services because they are not RA citizens. Some have undergone conversion therapy in Russia, experienced torture in psychiatric hospitals, and are in a difficult psychological condition. Additionally, some lack the means to continue hormone therapy and access other essential medical services. Others live in shantytowns or dormitories, where they are deprived of basic communal facilities.

To respond to these needs, Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO has been providing social support since January, including financial aid and parcels of food and basic household goods. The organization’s legal team also provides assistance to LGBTIQ persons who have moved to Armenia to obtain residency status and other issues.

Since January, a total of 38 Trans LGBIQ individuals have received financial assistance, and 134 individuals have received parcels of food and basic necessities.

Through such programs, we aim to support Trans LGBIQ people who find themselves in a difficult social situation as a result of various political and social crises and temporarily lighten their burden, enabling them to overcome crises and difficulties.

Jun 4, 2024 Armenia Yerevan

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