Constitutional Changes Are a Step Back from Human Rights Perspective – Human Rights Defenders
The proposed constitutional changes are a step back from human rights norms fixed in international documents, evolving a decrease of fundamental human rights and freedoms, said rights defenders.

Lawyer Hayk Alumyan believes the chapter on human rights and fundamental freedoms must be immune.

“This chapter is incorporated into the Constitution and can never be cut but it can be expanded. Yet, the proposed chapter includes provisions which, as compared with the current Constitution, reduce human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Alumyan said.

He shared his concern over the provision on the property right.

“Now the Constitution defines that only the court can deprive a person of the right to property while according to the proposed changes, a person may be deprived of property without a court ruling and then a person can appeal to the court to get their property back,” Alumyan said.

Artur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizen's Assembly - Vanadzor, said the project greatly contradicts the concept that was published last year. Besides, it contradicts the current constitution.

''Another serious challenge in this project is the violation of the secular state. The project emphasizes the exceptional role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in spiritual and other aspects. The constitution authorizes the Armenian Apostolic Church to govern my freedom of thought and conscience,'' noted Sakunts.

Alumyan believes continuously changing the Constitution is not serious and creates a disrespectful attitude towards such an important document.

According to him around 400 provisions in Armenia’s Constitution were amended since it became independent.

What respect to the mechanisms of holding the referendum, Alumyan stressed it would have been better if citizens were given the right of voting ''yes'' or ''no'' for separate chapters of the Constitution rather than for the whole project of constitutional changes.

''Because if I say ''yes'' to the new constitution, it will mean that I am saying ''yes'' also to those chapters and provisions that I am against, and if I say ''no'', it will mean that I am saying ''no'' to the theses that I am for,'' added Alumyan.


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