On 11 March 2021, the RA Government approved the RA Draft Law on making amendments to the RA Constitutional Law on the Human Rights Defender. The draft proposes to repeal part 5 of Article 8 of the same law, which establishes that “The amount of allocation for funding provided from the state budget to the Defender and the Staff thereto as well as to the Defender as the National Preventive Mechanism cannot be less than the amount provided the year before”.
The legislative safeguard in force reflects the best international experience and standards, guaranteeing financial stability of the office of the RA Human Rights Defender and its independence as an essential precondition for the effectiveness of its activity.
Such a change is an obvious regression from the established standard and implies refusal of the principle of the stability of funding for the staff of the Human Rights Defender’s Office, as a result of which, budget allocations for the Ombudsman’s office will, to a certain degree, depend on the will of the political authorities in force. Therefore, without envisaging precize legislative safeguards of ensuring financial stability and independence of the Ombudsman's activity, such a legislative change can undermine the independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman and his staff’s activity.
The full opinion is available HERE
Protection of Rights without Borders NGO
Transparency International anti-corruption center
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Open Society Foundations-Armenia