June 20 is World Refugee Day, every year on this day the United Nations, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and many civil organizations around the world organize World Refugee Day events to draw public attention to the struggles of the millions of refugees and displaced people around the world, who had to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution.

Since 2016, the Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO has included among its priorities the provision of social assistance and protection of the interests of the LGBTIQ refugees who have found refuge in the Republic of Armenia. Especially in recent years, there has been a massive flow of refugees to Armenia from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine due to the internal political developments and international relations of those countries. Among the people who moved to Armenia, there is also a large number of LGBTIQ people who had to leave their country to avoid discrimination and persecution. The Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO has included LGBTIQ refugees among its beneficiaries, implementing social assistance programs and providing urgent legal assistance for asylum, document applications, and other issues.

In the framework of World Refugee Day, it is important to emphasize that unfortunately there are also many Trans and LGBIQ people who are forced to leave Armenia due to continuous discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ people. In the Republic of Armenia, there is an atmosphere of impunity that perpetuates violence against Trans and LGBIQ people due to incomplete legal regulations, the absence of a law criminalizing discrimination, and imperfect law enforcement practices, which has created a fertile ground for harassment and violence against Trans and LGBIQ people: in the last year alone, at least 8 trans people have been documented to leave the country and seek asylum in European countries or the USA.

The Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO stands by the Trans and LGBIQ individuals who have become refugees and will fight for the protection of their interests and ensure equality of rights. Together, we will continue to work to ensure that all Trans and LGBIQ people have the right to international protection and safe haven when fleeing violence, persecution, war, or disaster in their home countries.

Jun 20 2023 Armenia, Yerevan

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