A discussion was held ahead of the International Day of Human Rights at Media Center with the participation of Larisa Alaverdyan, Executive Director of "The Foundation Against the Violation of Law" NGO, RA first Ombudsman, Artak Zeynalyan, Member of "Rule of Law" NGO and Artur Sakunts, Head of the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly.
Summarising the year of 2016 in terms of human rights in Armenia, Larisa Alaverdyan said that there were "outrageous" violations of human rights in July of this year about which neither an explanation nor an appropriate response has been provided so far.
“I witnessed the dispersal of noble protesters in London and it was very rough, but seven policemen were fired the next day. In our case violations against journalists were unprecedented. People were gathered in a place with a rascal scenario and were subjected to ill-treatment. We went to the area of internal forces and stayed there until morning. Nearly 100 people came out. I think that there was no adequate assessment of this occasion so far,” Alaverdyan said. She emphasised that her organisation, being engaged in the protection of human rights, can protect the rights of this or that person till the court but globally the phenomenon has not changed yet.
As Artak Zeynalyan said, the situation of human rights in Armenia had regressed compared to the previous year. Events were held in summer, during which there were mass violations. The police attitude towards human rights was more cynical compared to the previous year. This was due to the fact that they were able to digest last year's actions, they were not subjected to the legal liability. If there is no punishment for what was done, it becomes a habit. This year it was developed," Zeynalyan said.
He added that if people were not free for 18 hours, this year people were taken to a concentration camp without any factual basis.
“There was no political responsibility. Such phenomena are not accidental, but orders made by those who are in charge. Why do they choose journalists as targets? Because they are the defenders of freedom of speech. The aim of the regime is to isolate the owner of that power, to prevent people from demanding,” Zeynalyan said.
Artur Sakunts, referring to the question of how he assessed Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian's statement in Hamburg yesterday about considering the development of the civil society as an important trend in Armenia, said it was cynical.
“The government does not listen to the alarms of the civil society in the country but they present it as a personal achievement outside. Nalbandian wanted to look better in relation to Azerbaijan, but he forgets one thing that it is not their achievement. We have a lot of unresolved issues and we go through the accumulation of problems, not the solution,” Sakunts said.
Sakunts said that Armenia is not a legal, social, and sovereign state.
“Serzh Sargsyan is responsible for all this. Armenia is more than a vulnerable country. We have a serious problem with the constitutional amendments, which is imposed on the Republic of Armenia. To continue the personal power, Serzh Sargsyan changed the system from presidential to parliamentary. Observers rights are restricted, unlike the previous electoral code. But there are citizens of Armenia, in spite of themselves. And if they want to boast of civil society, the civil society must be listened to,” Sakunts added.