During 2020 and the first half of 2021, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor addressed 17 letters to the RA Ministry of Defence with regard to conscripts who applied to the Organizations. The RA Ministry of Defence responded to the point to only 8 out of the mentioned 17 letters. In 41% of the letters addressed by HCA Vanadzor and on behalf of conscripts, the responses do not address solutions to the problems raised therein.
This is what HCA Vanadzor analysis on the “Conduct of the competent RA state bodies in cases of conscripts and early discharged servicemen” shows.
Generally, the Ministry of Defence manifests a high level of confidentiality in terms of providing information, which is not always justified.
It is noteworthy that during the annual award ceremony “Golden Key and Rusty Lock” of the Freedom of Information Center, the RA Ministry of Defence was awarded “a rusty lock” for violating the right to freedom of information.
HCA Vanadzor addressed this matter in another analysis by presenting the issue in the context of human rights and international legal acts.
It should be mentioned that in the frame of its activity, HCA Vanadzor requests the MoD exclusively for such information which falls within official information of public importance and cannot be considered confidential.
Confidentiality of this information is not justified also by the Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (The Tshwane Principles). This is not information concerning a secret of a person’s private life subject to protection, provision of such information does not and cannot cause any harm to any person’s interests.
As a result of non-provision of this information, an important sphere of public authorities is left out of civilian oversight, which is not compliant with obligations undertaken by the state to protect human rights in a legal and democratic society and guarantee an accountable and transparent governance. While, freedom to seek and receive information, i.e., availability of public information is an essential precondition for transparency of a responsible state governance and democracy.
We call on the RA Ministry of Defence to respond to HCA Vanadzor written applications and inquiries within terms established by law and address the issues raised therein.