Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Discrimination based on disability is violence against the relevant person’s dignity: Statement

September 18, 2020

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2020 | Announcements | Publications | State Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On 17 September 2020, Gagik Tsarukyan, Head of Prosperous Armenia Faction of Armenia’s legislative body, proposed to enshrine in the constitution that “persons with serious mental health problems do not have the right to hold highest political positions by endangering the security of the country and RA citizens”.


This statement entailed a number of mutual messages from persons holding high political positions. These messages included formulations insulting, labeling and disgrading persons with psychosocial and mental disabilities.  Moreover, Prosperous Armenia Faction, in the face of MP Iveta Tonoyan, announced the process of a legislative initiative on forbidding persons with psychosocial disability to hold high political positions. Hrachya Hakobyan, MP of the NA “My Step” Faction, stated that it was also necessary to enshrine “the condition of persons with serious mental and intellectual problems”. Further, Kristine Poghosyan, MP of the same faction, spoke about a legislative initiative on undergoing a psychological examination before being given the mandate of an MP and called on Prosperous Armenia Faction to cooperate.  


We find it necessary to remind that in 2010, the Republic of Armenia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Among other rights, the Convention also enshrines guaranteeing  political rights of persons with disabilities and their opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, including their right to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government (Article 29).


We exhort and demand from RA NA MPs to respect the dignity and individuality of every person, to refrain from targeting a person’s alleged or real mental health problem in public speech and to refrain from legislative initiatives, which are discriminatory based on mental health disability. 


Armenian authorities, as representatives of a state which has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, must exclude discriminatory speech based on disability or any other ground, positions promoting discriminatory mindset and attitude in public debate, which is violence against a person’s dignity and contradicts the values of universal human rights.


18 September 2020 

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