Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Human rights are universal and cannot have national limitations STATEMENT

April 12, 2019

Activities | Right to Freedom from Discrimination | Joint | Announcements | State Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On 5 April 2019, the National Assembly of Armenia held parliamentary hearings dedicated to the national human rights agenda upon the initiative of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights and Public Affairs and with the support of UNDP Armenia and the Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia. The speeches and comments pronounced during the hearings revealed once again the serious systemic problems in regards to respecting and protecting fundamental human rights. The attitude of Naira Zohrabyan, Member of the National Assembly, Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights and Public Affairs, and of a group of other members of parliament towards a representative of the LGBT community was a grave violation of human rights, which seriously breached the mission of the Standing Committee.


We, the below-signed representatives of organisations and individuals, join all the citizens and local and international organisations that expressed concerns over the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms that took place in the National Assembly of New Armenia.


We express profound concern over the response of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Armenia, which presumably represents the official position of the Government of the Republic of Armenia. The response subordinates human rights, namely the right to be free from discrimination and equal rights, to the “principle of public morals,” which is totally unacceptable and not befitting a state that has adopted democratic principles.


We urge the Government of the Republic of Armenia to reconsider its official position and to ascertain that it is unreservedly committed to the principles of human rights protection and to the respect for the dignity of persons—commitments under the Republic of Armenia Constitution and international treaties without exceptions, bias and ambiguity.


We hereby urge the Government of the Republic of Armenia:


  • To take immediate and effective measures to hold liable those who incite and perpetrate grave violations of human rights, discrimination, hate and violence, who continue the unlawful practices under a disguise of “public morals,” which were widespread under the previous regime and entertained within the atmosphere of impunity;
  • To assert the supremacy of human rights and democratic values in the state and all related institutions; and
  • To organise wide-scale educational and awareness-raising initiatives in order to eliminate the propaganda of discrimination and hate speech, reaching dangerous levels in recent years, and to recover the violated rights of citizens.



Other organisations and individuals are invited to join this statement.


Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office

Open Society Foundations-Armenia

Asparez Club of Journalists

Pink Human Rights NGO

Soseh Women’s Issues NGO

Public Journalism Club

Armavir Development Center

Women’s Support Center

New Generation Humanitarian NGO

Spitak Helsinki Group human rights NGO

Journalists for Human Rights NGO

Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation

Center for Human Rights Research

Women’s Resource Center

Educational Center for Equal Rights NGO

Civic Youth Center NGO

Coalition against Discrimination and for Equality

Power of the Law NGO

Dialogue for Peace NGO

Women in Black, Armenia peace-building initiative

Society without Violence NGO

Gyumri Civic Youth Center

Women’s Rights House

Bekoom NGO

Colorful House social-cultural human rights NGO

Real World, Real People NGO

Coalition against Violence against Women

Helsinki Association human rights NGO

Human Rights House Yerevan

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

Logos human rights NGO

Women’s Rights Center

International Center for Democracy and Electoral Processes NGO

Tatevik NGO

Public Policy Institute

Free Citizen center for support to civic initiatives NGO

Khoran Ard intellectual center NGO

Ani Aghagyulyan, lawyer

Gohar Alexanyan

Karen Tumanyan

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