6 000 Armenian citizens appeal to Ombudsman's office on rights violations in 2017
Last year, more than 6 000 citizens have applied to the Office of the Ombudsman of Armenia with requests to protect and enforce their rights. The data for 2017 was presented by human rights defender Arman Tatoyan.
He said that last year the office received 1 300 complaints more than those received in 2016. Furthermore, three times more cases have received a positive decision for the applicants.
Disturbing facts about the elections
In 2017, parliamentary elections were held in Armenia as well as elections to the Council of Elders of Yerevan and leaders of regional communities.
According to Arman Tatosyan, society has lost trust in the elections as a result of the violations recorded throughout their course:
“Based on the results of observation of the election processes by the ombudsman’s office, alarming information and evidence of bribery of voters and abuse of administrative resources have been recorded in 2017. There were cases of obstruction of the work of journalists.
“There were cases of pressure on public servants and high school employees and intimidation of voters, and also threats of dismissal and forced voting of subordinates.”
Obstruction of journalistic activities
According to Arman Tatoyan, in 2017 various cases of obstruction of the work of journalists have been recorded, including by officials:
“The state representative should be guided by the presumption of law-abiding, good faith and honesty of the journalist. The ultimate beneficiary of any state activity is society, and communication [between the state and the society] is carried out through journalists. The country needs to create an atmosphere in which a journalist would feel protected by the state.”
Right to social security
The report of the ombudsman also reflects numerous cases of violations in calculating pensions, employment tenure, and maternity allowances.
Arman Tatoyan stated that fundamental changes are needed in the judicial system. It is important to change the opinion of judges on their rights, especially those related to the use of detention as an exceptional measure of restraint.
“Human rights are not protected at the initial stage of imprisonment and during detention. It is important to determine the right moment when to apply the measure of confinement. A person is being taken to the police station against their will – straight from the street.
“They are deprived of their freedom without minimum rights. The main problems are identified at this stage when a person is brought from the street to the police station. A detainee is held for longer than the set time, the registers are filled in incorrectly and so on,” the ombudsman said.
Rights of lawyers are violated
Arman Tatoyan stressed that a lawyer’s confidentiality is not a subject to publicity. He expressed himself against the decision prohibiting lawyers to take a whole list of items into the courtroom. The human rights defender also considers it justified that the lawyers object against searches which they are subjected to before entering a court building to perform any official duties.