On March 12-13, Lilit Martirosyan, the founder and president of Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO participated in the regional meeting of the Eastern European and Central Asian decriminalization movement “Rise & Decriminalize” as the vice president of the SWAN management committee. The meeting was organized by the Eurasian Regional Consortium (Consortium), launching an initiative specifically tailored to advocate for the rights of vulnerable populations, including LGBT people, drug users, women living with HIV, and sex workers. 5 Consortium Networks – ECOM, EHRA, ENPUD, SWAN, EWNA, and national representatives from Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia and Poland participated in the regional meeting.

The meeting was structured around 4 key themes addressing the needs and challenges faced by LGBTIQ people, drug users, women living with HIV, and sex workers. Those topics were:

• Body Autonomy,
• Access to Justice,
• Freedom from Legal Restrictions,
• Availability of Comprehensive Care Services.

The meeting’s goal was to review and validate the concept of decriminalization, aligning it with the specific needs of the EECA countries. The overarching aim of the regional meeting was to collaboratively establish a clear and actionable concept for the Decriminalization Movement in the EECA region, setting specific targets, timelines, and success indicators with the input of regional and national community leaders from the selected target countries.

As a result of the meeting, the participants have developed:

• the draft of the the regional framework of the Decriminalization Movement within the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region, engaging the five networks and communities attending the meeting,
• the draft of a collaborative advocacy mission and strategy, as well as a road map/action plan for the Decriminalization Movement in 2024.

The protection of the rights and interests of Trans LGBIQ persons, sex workers, and other vulnerable groups is a priority for Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO and we give great importance to the regular implementation of such meetings by the Eurasian Regional Consortium, which contribute to the advocacy of decriminalization.

March 15, 2024 Armenia Yerevan

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