Last edited: November 06, 2004

French Group Demands Armenia Abolish Anti-Gay Penal Code U.K., February 26, 2002

Paris-based non-profit organisation AGLA (Association of Gay and Lesbian Armenians of France) has sent a letter to the Council of Europe demanding a change to gay rights in the country.

The letter was addressed to Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, the head of the Armenian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, by him to abolish the anti-gay article in the penal code of Armenia.

When Armenia’s application to the Council of Europe was being discussed, leaders of political parties in the Parliament agreed to amend the article 116 of the penal code banning homosexuality.

Whilst Armenia has celebrated the first anniversary of its membership to the Council of Europe, parliamentary debates highlighted in the media show that it is not keen to protect the rights of homosexuals and that the penal code on persecuting homosexuality has not been changed.

In its news dispatch of November 15, 2001, the Arminfo news agency announced that in the year 2001 there were seven assassinations of homosexuals in Armenia. It is unclear how many of these killings were down to homophobia.

The AGLA is therefore urging the Armenian authorities and lawmakers to respect the guidelines of the Council of Europe and change the "clandestine" situation of gays and lesbians in Armenia.

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