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Lara Aharonian

HRD & Director
Women’s Resource Center
Front Line Defenders Euorpe & Central Asia Regional Award

Lara Aharonian is a woman human rights defender, who works on advancing women’s rights in Armenia. She is a board member of Human Rights House and co-founder of the Women’s Resource Center Armenia, a non-governmental feminist organization based in Yerevan that works to empower women and girls to become active citizens by combatting negative gender stereotypes and providing psychological and legal support to survivors of gender-based violence in Armenia. Lara Aharonian has extensive experience advocating for women’s rights, gender equality and the inclusion of trans, lesbian and bisexual women, in addition to raising awareness on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. After giving a speech in defence of marginalized groups, including LGBT women, at the National Assembly of Armenia in March 2018, Lara has been under constant attack from far-right groups and individuals. She faces private and public threats and harassment online and in real life.



Defamation campaigns carried out by the state media and public officials are often used to stigmatise HRDs and discredit their work in Armenia. These campaigns tend to portray HRDs as foreign agents and spies and can result in increased threats, judicial harassment and onerous tax inspections of their organisations. A major cause for concern is the treatment of LGBTI rights defenders, who are often faced with physical attacks and verbal abuse, both from state officials and the general public. Women’s rights defenders are regularly threatened and are frequently criticised for their work by the media, public opinion in general, and their family members. Additionally, some HRDs working in remote areas face judicial harassment and threats from local law enforcement agencies.