Human rights advocates claim Armenia guilty of all forms of human rights violations
According to a 2017 report by human rights advocates, human rights are violated on a daily basis in Armenia.
“Summarizing the situation of human rights in Armenia in 2017, it would be easier to say what rights had not been violated. Although it’s probably still more correct to say that all rights have been rights. If we were to employ all of our resources to protect human rights, even then we wouldn’t be successful. It is easier to prevent human rights violations than to deal with their consequences,” said Artak Zakaryan, a human rights defender and MP of the National Assembly of Armenia from the Yelk party.
He says that protecting human rights is impossible when there are no guarantees of a fair investigation.
“If a person needs protection from the court, this means that his or her rights to a fair trial have already been violated because in Armenia there are no effective mechanisms to defend this right. Whatever we try to do, these rights are violated. There are very few judges, they can’t examine all cases and this is also a big problem,” says Zakaryan.
The past year saw parliamentary elections take place. Zakaryan believes that the most important electoral right was violated: the right to free expression of will.
Chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia and advocate Avetik Ishkhanyan noted that the situation concerning human rights in Armenia, as a whole, has not changed and is not set to change in the near future:
“The protection of human rights depends on the condition of democracy and the supremacy of law. In order for human rights to be respected in a state, first citizens must elect authorities and then there must be an independent judiciary authority as well. This is basic stuff. In Armenia, there are no ‘elections’ – there is simply voting. The courts aren’t independent, the president signs orders everyday, replacing and appointing judges one after the other. I think everything is clear from this dynamic alone.”
Ishkhanyan says that this year the right to freedom of assembly was not violated because there were none:
Experts emphasize that those that are guilty of human rights violations have still not been punished.
Human rights defender Artur Sakunts is concerned that the judiciary acts very selectively: those that are close to the authorities are not punished or disciplined, while those who are outsiders – for example opposition figures, are harshly punished.