Targeting Human Rights during a War Undermines the State
On October 28 2020, the Media Center organized an online discussion on the topic of “Why are the human rights defenders targeted during the war?".

In a state of war, targeting human rights and human rights defenders is aimed at undermining the state. This was announced by Arthur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor office, during the discussion on the topic of “Why are the human rights defenders targeted during the war?".

 "In these conditions, when there is a real threat to the physical existence of the state and its inhabitants, when we have human casualties on the battlefield, we should not think about anything other than consolidating resources but there are targets," the human rights defender said. According to him, if we pay attention to when and who spread those labels, the purpose of the labeling actions will be clear. “The idea of human rights is one of the pillars of the state, when you target human rights defenders, you weaken the immune system of the state to resist the threats. A question arises: what is your goal? One thing is clear - to take power,” said Artur Sakunts. According to him, after the Velvet Revolution, the former authorities and their supporters targeted the new government with labeling as "Sorosians". “It means that Aliyev, calling the Armenian government to be “Sorosians”, had supporters of this idea in Armenia. Aliyev simply repeats the labeling made by those who lost power by the Velvet Revolution,” said Artur Sakunts.

According to Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, human rights defender, said that first of all the values are the target. Referring to the observation that our opponent is one across the border but people inside the country are targeted, Zaruhi Hovhannisyan answered․ “War is the catastrophe that first of all begins to undermine values. Doubts and targeting of values are expressed at different levels: individual, media, and state. The media outlet has an obligation and responsibility towards the society on what information it conveys through its channels. “Under the guise of freedom of speech, the media outlet utters an obvious word of hatred, targeting human rights activists who set specific values for themselves," said Zaruhi Hovhannisyan. According to Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, in a state of war, human rights activists are completely engaged in protecting the rights of those who were forced to leave Artsakh and in fact-finding activities. “Especially now, in a state of war, the fact-finding and humanitarian activities of human rights defenders must be protected by the state. The fact-finding work of human rights organizations will be presented to international organizations tomorrow as evidence of war crimes. “So now when targeting these people who is the enemy of the state and who deserves to have his/her photo next to the Azerbaijani and Turkish leaders?”, the human rights activist asked.

Zhanna Aleksanyan, President of the Journalists for Human Rights NGO, said that in this state of war, the former authorities have no intention of returning their loot. "There have been attempts to take me to their side but I have categorically refused. It is clear that I have become their enemy. “The pro-Kocharyan masses have spoiled the atmosphere, we see what is happening on social networks, they have decided to discredit human rights activists in every possible way,” said Zhanna Aleksanyan. According to her, even in a state of war, the former authorities continue their aspirations to take power but since in reality no political assessment is given to those forces, their crimes, robbery, human rights activists are the ones who raise these issues, so they decided to remove those people from their way.”

The human rights activists reminded that during the April 2016 war, there was no such targeting of them, as the actors were in the power at that time.

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