Head of public organization fighting for “national values” detained in Armenia
The head of the Kamk [Arm. Will] organization Vahagn Chakhalyan has been detained – a group in Armenia that has been protesting Armenia’s signing of the European Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Abuse.
This is the third time in 24 hours.
Activists of his initiative group connect the detainment with the fact that the day before they held a protest rally at the president’s residence. They demanded that the signing of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse be deferred until the end of the state of emergency.
The state of emergency was introduced in Armenia on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now it has been extended until June 13, as the number of infected continues to grow.
What does the organization of Chakhalyan demand?
Activists consider the convention a conspiracy against the inhabitants of Armenia.
“We hope that Armen Sargsyan will not take part in the conspiracy against our people. Before signing, let the president listen to our voice, the voice of the people, then we’ll only decide,” said one of the protesters.
The organization of Vahagn Chakhalyan was actively and outspoken in November 2019, when it opposed the adoption of the Istanbul Convention.
Then the activists also stated that the convention endangered the traditional Armenian values.
“Citizens are ready to organize disobedience protests in different cities of Armenia. We say that this is not yet necessary, since the document is not yet at the ratification stage. And if the National Assembly of Armenia does not listen to the voice of citizens and goes against their opinion, then protests will take place in all cities,” Chakhalyan said then.
On the convention opposed by Chakhalyan
On May 11, the Armenian Parliament adopted the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. 79 people voted in favor, 12 voted against. The Bright Armenia opposition faction did not participate in the vote.
According to opponents of the convention, it is aimed not at protecting children, but at their corruption.
The document itself states children must be protected regardless of their sexual orientation.
“One of the articles of the convention is education. It encourages countries to introduce means in their national educational programs in order to provide children with primary skills to determine risks to their sexual integrity, as well as self-defense skills,” said Anna Karapetyan, a member of the ruling parliamentary faction.
She says this does not mean that in primary and secondary school children will be taught what sexual integrity is.
“The task is to provide skills on how to recognize in adults’ actions possible signs that they may be at risk and how to ask for help so that the sexual integrity of the children is protected.”