YEREVAN—After condemning the fire bomb attack at a local club last week, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member and chairman of the party’s parliamentary bloc Vahan Hovannesian said that the “ARF has no phobias,” referring to the attack, which was motivated by homophobia.
The ARF leader explained that discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation has always been a contentious issue. “It is the ARF contention curtailing the rights of civilized people or using force against them is unacceptable.”
“The ARF has always fought against oppression of free will, because oppression of free will or discrimination against any individual endangers the civil harmony and opens the door to external enemies,” said Hovannesian.
The ARF leader forcefully condemned efforts to politicize the situation, saying that elements that are pointing the blame on the party are misguided and are using this incident to further inflame the situation.
ARF Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan also echoed the strong condemnation of the incident and decried efforts to politicize the situation.
In his blog, Manoyan called on all “national, social, democratic, revolutionary and all forces to collectively fight for the Armenian nation’s political, economic social and cultural interests with the aim of resolving the Armenian Cause—Hai Tahd.”
“The perpetrators of this crime must be punished within the letter and spirit of Armenian law. If today their target is the LGBT society, tomorrow it can be anyone else,” said veteran activist and Vice-President of Socialist International Maria Titizian on her Facebook page.
“Sadly, there is much intolerance in Armenian society, not only toward the homosexual community, but towards anyone or any group who deign to hold views that are not widely accepted. I hope that in the coming weeks and months this discourse can move away from its obvious politicization and manifest itself in an honest, open and candid dialogue about the kind of society we want to have, a society where there is respect, tolerance and mutual acceptance,” explained Titizian.
“As a long-standing member of the ARF and Vice President of Socialist International, I say with the utmost responsibility that, contrary to the media spin, this is NOT the position of the party that for 122 years has advocated for freedom, justice and equality. Every human being has the inalienable right to live their life as they see fit, without fear or recrimination or alienation from society,” added Titizian.