Armenia’s new government should place human rights at the centre of its policies – Dunja Mijatović

12:43 • 25.09.18



Armenia’s peaceful transfer of power in May 2018 has been truly remarkable. However, popular expectations are high that there will be tangible improvements to people’s lives, and the government should devote its attention to upholding the long-neglected rights of those who are most vulnerable”, said Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, concluding a visit to Armenia from 15 to 20 September which focused on women’s rights, gender equality and domestic violence, the human rights of various disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, as well as questions related to accountability for past human rights violations.

The Commissioner devoted attention to the rights of women and their political participation: “Women’s participation in Armenia’s public life should be more effectively promoted – especially, at the highest levels of decision-making and at the local level, where it is particularly low.” Temporary special measures, such as mandatory quotas, can be helpful in levelling the playing field for women and men, and the Commissioner recommends that concrete and ambitious targets for women’s participation be pursued, including for local elections. “The authorities should also do more to encourage women and girls to become actively engaged in political life, to promote role models and champions – both male and female - of women’s equality, and to foster a gender-equal education environment free from discriminatory stereotypes”, said Commissioner Mijatović, according to the Council of Europe's official website.

On the issue of equality in employment, the Commissioner considers that Armenia should take decisive steps to ensure equal pay and equal access to the labour market for women by combating the high gender pay gap and abolishing the list of professions declared hazardous for women. Armenia should also facilitate women’s return to work from maternity leave and boost the activities of the Council on Ensuring Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men under the Prime Minister.


The Commissioner welcomed the adoption of the “Law on prevention of violence within the family, protection of victims of violence within the family and restoration of peace in the family” in December 2017, followed by the signature of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. “As Armenia moves towards the ratification of that Convention, it should look beyond standard-setting and make sure that the new national legislation is effectively applied as soon as it fully enters into force in January 2019”, said the Commissioner, pointing out the need for further capacity-building and raising awareness of law enforcement officers, investigators, social workers, and members of the judiciary so that they are better equipped to ensure the protection of people affected by domestic violence and prevent re-victimisation.

 





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