Regressive and Restricted Human Rights in the Constitutional Changes, Rights Defenders
The chapter on human rights in the project of constitutional changes encompasses controversial and regressive provisions which, actually, are not amended in the edited variant which the Parliament voted for on October 5.

Artur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office; Heriknaz Tigranyan, Legal Adviser of Transparency International Anticorruption Center; Avetik Ishkhanyan, Head of Helsinki Committee of Armenia; and Armen Grigoryan, “You Won’t Pass” Civic Initiative, political analyst shared thoughts on the chapter regarding human rights in the constitutional changes at an online debate entitled held by the Media Center and cybercast at

Heriknaz Tigranyan believes the new project has tricky clauses, namely “vulnerability” in regard to social rights.

“If the current Constitution fails to specify labor rights, in the proposed project you can never find apartment rights or right to health insurance,” Tigranyan said.

Though the recent variant which was put to the vote on October 5 was edited, there are still norms which, along with their formulations, observe an obvious regress in human rights field, even as compared with the initial project.

“This project defines a person cannot do a thing which violates others’ rights and goes against laws and the Constitution. Thus, any action a person may take can be restricted referring to the fundamentals of the constitution,” Tigranyan said.

The adoption of the constitution, Armen Grigoryan believes, does not reflect the real tendencies in the society.

“The survey APR Group has conducted shows 65 percent of the society thinks the constitutional changes unnecessary, while 15 percent do not know if they need these changes or not. Consequently, the majority does not set forth such a demand,” Grigoryan said.

The only cause of initiating constitutional changes is to keep Serzh Sargsyan in power, Grigoryan believes.

Avetik Ishkhanyan who speaks for the parliamentary system said he cannot stand the fact that the demand comes from the government rather than people.

“I can hardly point out a country where authorities will themselves choose to restrict their power. And suddenly, our authorities become kind and decide to divide their power, do they?” said Ishkhanyan.

The elaboration phase of the constitutional changes project did not go in line with the Law on Legal Acts, Artur Sakunts believes.

“The Venice Commission sets forth mutual trust as a requirement for changing the constitution. We can see different manifestations of “No” to the authorities’ initiative and a lack of dialogue,” Sakunts said.

Artur Sakunts describes as a negative reality the fact that the principle of direct applicability of constitutional norms is cancelled in the project of constitutional changes.

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