Armenia debates whether human rights are protected - on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Ombudsman Institute
The office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and hosting a two-day international forum in Yerevan, in which the ombudsmen of 30 countries are participating.
Human rights defender Arman Tatoyan himself stated that the institution of the Ombudsman of Armenia “has set the bar high”.
While foreign ombudsmen and others praise the Armenian Human Rights Defender’s office, some think that the institution has done little in the way of ensuring human rights in the country.
Assessment of colleagues: Russia will use the experience of Armenia
The Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Tatyana Moskalkova stated:
“The Russian Federation will take into account the experience of Armenia in the issue of protecting human rights … Today we see how much authority the institution of human rights in Armenia enjoys within the state and in the international arena. In 15 years, a huge path has been overcome to overcome difficulties, and, most importantly, it is connected with the fate of people who managed to help.”
Moskalkova considers it important that the constitutional legal status of the Ombudsman has been formed in Armenia. This enables the Ombudsman to respond to illegal decisions not only of the authorities, but also of any legal entity that violates the rights and interests of citizens.
The authorities say there is a need to improve the human rights situation in the country
In his welcoming remarks, Prime Minister Pashinyan focused on the fact that although Armenia is a democratic country, democracy still exists as an emotional continuation of the “velvet revolution” of 2018.
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the state, authorities and society need an institutional strengthening of democracy:
“The future of democracy should not depend on the moods, whims or tastes of any one party, person or authorities, in general. We consider the establishment of the judiciary a serious task. The government is determined and has the will to have an independent, uncontrolled judicial system.”
The prime minister recalled the events of 15 years ago, when the office of the Ombudsman was just opening in Armenia.
At the time, Pashinyan said, the efficacy of the institute was assessed as poor.
Moreover, relations between the office of the Ombudsman and the authorities in the past did not work out well. As a result, three ombudsmen resigned earlier than their term of office.
“But we are convinced that the ‘velvet revolution’ created a new atmosphere for the activities of the Ombudsman. he revolution created an environment in which the individual is the highest value, and the protection of his rights is a priority for the government,” said Pashinyan.
The Prime Minister hopes that as a result of cooperation between the government and the Ombudsman, the human rights situation in Armenia will improve “daily, monthly and yearly”.
Social media reaction
On the Armenian Facebook segment, users are actively discussing the speeches of speakers at the human rights forum.
It seems to some that the office of the Ombudsman is an institution that is unnecessary for anyone, while others, on the contrary, believe that it has done an effective job of ensuring human rights.
Here are some of the comments:
“Now human rights are protected thanks to our prime minister, so the ombudsman has nothing to do.”
“The Ombudsman’s office is an unnecessary institution from head to toe. You can challenge me – I will prove everything to you!”
“It is necessary to radically change the judicial system, the only way to protect the rights of the people.”
“Yes, human rights must be respected. But, first of all, we need to respect our cultural values and traditions. And the current authorities completely ignore this!”
“If anyone is in Armenia and can talk about human rights, then it is only the Prime Minister.”
“The theater continues. Give the people back their money! They have been working all their life, and now they live on a meager pension of 30,000 drams and take loans from banks in order to somehow make it through winter! Stop talking, start working already!”
“What kind of human rights they are talking about is incomprehensible … As nobody defended our rights in the past, so they continue not to do so.”