The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) condemns the violent attack by extremist groups on the women’s rights organization, Society Without Violence, in Armenia on 15 April 2014.
The Society Without Violence works on women’s empowerment, peace building, raising public awareness especially on gender stereotypes and gender based violence, and education, as well as contributing to the formation of an institutional protection for women human rights defenders.
On 15 April 2014, the Society Without Violence organized a roundtable to present a set of recommendations on integrating gender component into the Social Science secondary school subject. The Recommendation Package was developed by Society Without Violence and was developed through a series of 6 roundtables with 140 relevant experts from the field in 2012-2014.
Due to recent threats and attack on women’s rights organizations in Armenia, the event was a closed session for participants but was interrupted by neo-nationalist extremist group members protesting the event.
As the extremist groups tried to enter the conference room, some verbally attacked members of Society Without Violence, while others used physical force on women’ rights defenders and hotel security guards. Members of local and official media who arrived with the extremist protestors filmed the incident, but later falsely claimed that the Society Without Violence initiated the violent attack.
The WHRD IC notes with concern that this violent attack is part of the increasing attacks on women rights organizations due to the growing extremism leading to deterioration of rights for women and lessening of social awareness on gender issues in Armenia. Women human rights defenders in Armenia are targeted with threats and violence for carrying on their human rights works.