Armenian Far-Right and Church Opposition to Anti-Female Violence Convention
Written by Narine Khachatryan
Over the past months, right-wing groups and individuals in Armenia have been actively campaigning on and offline against the ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (more widely known as the Istanbul Convention).
What the controversy in Armenia?
Armenia signed the Convention in 2018, but has yet to ratify it. The current authorities have announced their intent to do so in the upcoming months. Those fighting against the ratification of the Convention argue that instead of aiming at sexual and domestic violence prevention and victim protection, the document seeks to “open up opportunities for the propaganda and legitimization of perversion and perverts” and “destroy Armenian national family values, religion and traditions […] by legitimizing a ‘third sex’” in the country.
The Convention has been criticized by the Armenian Apostolic Church, which issued a statement in late July to urge the government to refrain from ratifying the document as “there are extremely concerning points in the Convention from the perspective of our national-spiritual identity and security.” According to the Church, there are “formulations and explanations in the Convention that define a third sex,” which is “incompatible with the moral understandings of the Church.” The statement also expressed a concern that same-sex marriage would be legalized with the ratification of document, which they describe as “in contradiction with the Church’s invariable doctrine about family, since a family can be formed only by the unification of man and woman.”
It should be highlighted that despite the claims of the Church and a number of right-wing/conservative activists within Armenia, the Convention neither introduces a “third sex” nor imposes legalization of same-sex marriages on signatory countries. Rather, the document clearly states that “‘gender’ shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviours, …read more