Human rights abuses give ground to increasing concerns in Armenia – debate

17:28 • 26.12.17



No human rights could have been violated in Armenia over the past year because they simply didn’t exist, an opposition lawmaker said Tuesday, complaining particularly about massive abuses of the right to fair trial and restrictions on fundamental freedoms.


“If a person is in need of an effective remedy, that logically implies a violation of his or her right to a fair trial,” Artak Zeynalyan of the opposition Yelk faction in parliament said at a public debate.

 

As a serious concern, he addressed the conditions in penitentiary institutions, highlighting the repeated instances of inhuman and degrading treatment against inmates.  


The lawmakers further addressed electoral abuses which he said amounted to constraints upon voters’ freedom to exercise their civic duty.


“Electoral bribes were being massively distributed, with the administrative resource largely influencing the political will, and the political forces not having the freedom to act at their own discretion,” he noted.


Avetik Ishkhanyan, the Armenian Helsinki Committee’s president also attending the meeting, agreed that the April parliamentary elections were held under conditions of massive abuses and violations.


“The authorities achieved what we call a voting, not an election,” he said, adding that no essential changes have been observed since 2016.


Ishkhanyan said he doesn't even expect the recently signed Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU to offer aditional guarantees in the field of human rights protection in Armenia.  


“The EU can assist only in the process of democracy-building and establishment rule of law,” he said, voicing concern over systemic violations (as opposed to individual cases).


Lusine Sargsyan, the head of the Center of Human Rights Research and Education (Ombudsman’s Office) pointed out to an increasing number of appeals filed over the period, noting that they testify to a higher level of awareness of rights among the citizens.  


“As an extremely important challenge, I would like to highlight the practice of law enforcement. Laws are normally written very well in Armenia and become improved over the course of time, but we face a challenge when it comes to enforcement. The problem here deals mainly with the individuals responsible for enforcement procedures, as well as the training of specialists, and awareness activities,” he said.  

 

 

Anahit Hakobyan





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