December 10 is International Human Rights Day, marking the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on this day in 1948. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights (Article 1). Everyone shall have all the rights and freedoms declared in the document without distinction of any kind, regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political and other beliefs, national or social origin, property, class, and other status (Article 2).

This year the theme of International Human Rights Day is “Freedom, Equality, and Justice for All”, which is truly in line with the mission of Right Side Human Rights Defender NGOas a Trans LGBIQ and sex workers community-based organization, has been working in protecting of rights and interests of these marginalized groups for 8 years. Regardless of the equality established by the RA Constitution and international law, Trans and LGBTQ people in Armenia continue to face discrimination, pressure, and violence in various areas of their lives, as evidenced by the documented cases of physical violence this year. The lack of specific legal protections, anti-discrimination law and lack of political will to make amends exacerbates the vulnerability of community members, perpetuating an atmosphere of impunity.

Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO continues to be at the forefront of protecting the rights of members of vulnerable groups in the Republic of Armenia by providing legal aid and periodically conducting campaigns to raise awareness about human rights. This year, we’ve produced videos where Trans LGBTQ and sex workers share why International Human Rights Day is important to them. Also, in April of this year, Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO created a card game called “Know Your Rights”, which provides an opportunity to learn and remember 30 fundamental human rights in a creative and interactive way.

International Human Rights Day is another opportunity to unite our voices and call on the Government of the Republic of Armenia to ensure full protection of the rights of Trans LGBIQ and sex workers, specifically:

– take appropriate legal steps to ensure the legal gender recognition and name change of transgender persons, based on the right to self-determination, and spiritual and physical integrity, eliminating the need for coercive medical interventions.

– update the draft law on equality to include the prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity and gender self-expression.

– to ensure by law the protection of transgender persons from hate crimes and hate speech, to document incidents, and to submit reports to other OSCE participating countries.

– To make the current curricula in the RA educational system inclusive from the point of view of the rights of transgender persons and to teach inclusiveness, sexuality, and gender issues.

– implement appropriate measures to fairly investigate all cases of violence, hatred, and discrimination against transgender people.

– to stop the promotion of hatred, discrimination, and ridicule towards transgender people through the politicization of LGBT issues.

December 10, 2023  Armenia, Yerevan

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