The decision has been made despite opposition’s protest and the human rights activists’ indignation over the majority’s initiative
The Armenian National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights has been abolished as per initiative of the ruling majority group in the newly elected Parliament.
The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) proposed to reduce the number of standing committees in Parliament from 12 to 9. Hrayr Tovmasyan, the MP reporting on the issue, explained it as follows: the National Assembly committees had a different work load and therefore, it was suggested to merge the Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committees into one joint committee, since they are interrelated.
Parliamentary opposition spoke out against the proposal. Artak Zeynalyan, MP from the ‘Yell’ alliance, claimed that the majority’s decision on the dissolution of the aforesaid committee conveyed a negative message to the public.
Human rights activists also expressed discontent with regarding this decision.
Artur Sakunts, the Head of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office, termed the aforesaid decision as ‘erroneous’. As he pointed out, Armenia has switched to the parliamentary form of government and, theoretically, instead of dissolution, this committee should have been declared as one of the key committees.
“In terms of a meaningful approach towards execution of parliamentary control and compliance with international commitments, proceeding from the logic of the new EU-Armenia agreement, it seemed that the Human Rights Commission should have gained more political significance. However, its merging with another committee implies that it will be imparted the residual character,” the human rights activist noted.
Elinar Vardanyan, a lawyer, who chaired the aforesaid committee in the former Parliament, told journalists she regretted that the committee had been dissolved: the human rights situation in Armenia is far from perfect and it’s unacceptable to make such a decision now.