Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Opinion on the law on making an addendum to the RA Law on Refugees and Asylum

December 6, 2023

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On 13 November 2023, Draft Law on Making an Addendum to the RA Law on Refugees and Asylum (hereinafter referred to as “the draft”) was put for public discussion.

 

The draft proposes to establish legal grounds to form a group of observers in order to conduct public oversight in temporary shelters of those seeking asylum. 

HCAV positively assesses the legislative initiative of forming a new toolkit to ensure public oversight over activity of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and has recorded some problems in draft-proposed regulations.

As a result of conducting public monitoring of closed and semi-closed institutions, HCAV pointed out the crucial precondition for effective activity and management of the group of observers. The said precondition is that the formed group of public observers should be entitled to nominate a new member candidate. The principle of independence is one of essential safeguards for the activity of the group of observers, therefore the group must have autonomy in terms of engaging new members. 

 

In addition, the group should maintain a stable composition of the group over a period of time, if possible. Frequent change of group members will make it difficult to maintain a constructive dialogue with the authorities. 

 

Based on the aforementioned, we find that in order to ensure a stable mandate for members of the group of observers, the draft must

  • establish the right to nominate a new member candidate and

  • change terms of powers, establishing a five-year period.

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