The speakers of the debate were Artak Zeynalyan (Yelq Alliance), Aram Manukyan (ANC-PP), Anahit Bakhshyan (“Free Democrats” Party), Bagrat Yesayan (“Armenian Revolutionary Party”) and Tigran Sargsyan (“Armenian Renaissance” Party).
“How do people perceive the protection of human rights currently in Armenia? Everyone should think about the situation of today. Does Armenia perform its commitments? If not, then RA government, the legislative body are responsible for it, they should bear the political responsibility during these elections, ”Artak Zeynalyan said.
He thinks that in order to be able to provide human rights in a way the society wants, the electoral rights of citizens should be provided.
“Everything starts from it. If for the protection of other rights certain actions, procedures, adoption of laws are required, in the case of the electoral rights need to take direct actions. That is we will obtain power by voting and will leave it also by the elections. This is what we will provide in terms of the electoral rights,” Zeynalyan said.
Aram Manukyan, addressing the issue of political prisoners, said that the ANC is the most affected political power in this sense.
“We had the most political prisoners, and that’s why we have a concrete provision in our program to liberate all the people who meet the criteria defined in Resolution 1900 of PACE. Now we have prisoners who meet these criteria and all the political forces should be committed to this issue,” Manukyan said.
He said that all the political forces should invest all their energy to defend the constitutionality of people not only during the election campaign but also generally, and then we can speak of a democratic country.
“Generally human rights situation is very sad in Armenia, very sad,” Manukyan said.
Bagrat Yesayan thinks that the interrelation between having political views and being imprisoned can cause a misunderstanding.
“There are no political prisoners in Armenia because there are no political articles. Let me remind you that the most democratic constitution was probably Stalin's Constitution, the Constitution of the USSR, but at the time there were political prisoners. In order to have the status of a prisoner, you need to get into the ideology. We put here the basic human rights, a person has a recreation, education, health rights and the liberal ideology that prevails in Armenia during the last 26 years.We are going to change it based on our main principle, which is the socialist ideology,” Yesayan said.
Anahit Bakhshyan said that the program of “Free Democrats” Party involves the disclosure of October 27 crime and March 1 killings.
“Our program involves and there are very important provisions about the human rights institute in Armenia and the institute of going to the European Court. All the decisions that are the mistakes of this or that judge and the European Court impose the Government to reimburse, this money should be reimbursed by the judges who made the mistakes,” Bakhshyan said.
Tigran Sargsyan said that the human rights defense start from the legislations.
“The declaration of human rights is not enough, we need to develop mechanisms for a person to understand the rules of the game. Of course, there are political prisoners in Armenia, Shant Harutyunyan for example because he was just making a protest, he just wanted to make his demands public, and I did not see any criminal thing here,” Sargsyan said.
He thinks that to protect human rights we should have a good parliament first not strong enforcement agencies or judicial system.
“Unfortunately, Armenia does not have a Parliament as all the legislative initiatives are brought by the Government but the Parliament’s number one objective is to do legislative work. A well-written law is rarely broken. If a good citizen stands behind a good law it is impossible to break. The current Electoral Code is written in a way that even experts do not understand it and in this case how the voter can protect his electoral right if he cannot understand the legislation. It is because the legislative body is not able to formulate its requirements clearly,” Sargsyan said.
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Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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