LONDON, England—The Equal Rights Trust announced on July 25 that PINK Armenia Executive Director Mamikon Hovsepyan has won the 2017 Bob Hepple Equality Award. The award, established in the name of the late Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC, champion of equality and non-discrimination, continues his legacy to recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals to equality.
“Despite facing considerable challenges, Mr. Hovsepyan has fought tirelessly to combat discrimination against LGBT individuals in Armenia. In addition, he has advocated a holistic approach to non-discrimination, working to challenge violence against women, and collaborating with other members of the Non-Discrimination and Equality Coalition to promote the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Armenia. With this award the Trust hopes to encourage those—like Mr. Hovsepyan—who promote improved protection from all forms of discrimination, both in Armenia and elsewhere,” read a part of the statement released by the London-based Equal Rights Trust.
“I am so touched that my work with PINK Armenia has been noticed,” Hovsepyan said in response to the news of the award. “It makes us stronger and prouder of the work we do and we share this with our community, our supporters and allies. It encourages me in my fight as an activist to continue empowering others to join the frontline and make the world a better place for everyone.”
Since it was founded, PINK Armenia has been the subject of numerous threats and intimidation; in 2015, 37 NGOs detailed such instances in a joint letter to the President of Armenia and on two occasions safety concerns resulted in PINK Armenia relocating offices. When these challenges have arisen, PINK Armenia has stood tall, it has continued to uphold an ambitious and innovative mandate and its multifaceted approach has remained inclusive of advocacy, litigation, awareness raising, training, and support services.
Highlights of PINK Armenia’s work, spearheaded by Mr Hovsepyan, include:
- Impact on Media Reporting: To address negative and limited media coverage of LGBT issues, PINK Armenia helps to form alliances between the media and LGBT individuals, promoting a glossary of appropriate terms to use in LGBT reporting and Mr. Hovespyan has taken a courageous approach in confronting negative media. Since it began this work, PINK Armenia has identified an increase in positive media reporting and in the number of people using digital tools to speak out in support of LGBT individuals.
- Call to the Government of Armenia: PINK Armenia participates in dialogue with the Government and makes recommendations on, among other things, its draft laws and its Human Rights Action Plan. In 2015, as part of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Armenia, it called for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as a recognized ground of discrimination in Armenia’s draft anti-discrimination law.
- Creation of New Innovations: PINK Armenia recently launched the training website “Inqnus”, a first of its kind platform enabling people in Armenia and the Caucuses to participate safely and anonymously in training on sexuality, sexual health, human rights, and discrimination.