Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Conscripts’ rights continue being violated as the state has an improper approach in regard to reimbursement matters

June 2, 2020

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On 14 May 2020, HCA Vanadzor sent a note to the Minister of Defense Davit Tonoyan, requesting information in regard to the measures taken during the state of emergency (when  the work of public transport is prohibited) for conscripts to reach military commissariats of their registration address, as well as to undergo a medical examination. 


The cause was conscript A.B.’s relative’s application to HCA Vanadzor, which we touched upon in our previous publications. In those publications we mentioned that due to the state of emergency, conscripts, including A.B., have problems reaching military commissariats, and medical institutions to undergo a medical examination. In the absence of public transport, not everyone is able to make use of taxi service cars and pay 3,000-4,000 drams for one way. Earlier we also made a publication in regard to the alarms  on not adhering to safety rules in Abovyan military commissariat.


On May 20, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense responded to HCA Vanadzor letter. In particular, it was mentioned in the response that according to the Government’s decision, on 18 May 2020, intra-community public transport recommenced working and thus, conscripts subject to military enlistment and compulsory military service can, without any obstacles, go to medical centers of the regions and the capital city to undergo medical examinations. 


At the same time, MoD Secretary General reminded that according to the Government’s relevant decision of 2018, the serving polyclinic reimburses the travel expenses of pre-conscription and conscription age persons referred to treatment and medical examination, by the amount established by the Minister of Health.


Even in the condition that public transport recommenced, HCA Vanadzor has no information as to the steps taken by the state to make it safe for conscripts, whether the state is planning to review the procedure of compensations and provide decent compensation to A.B. and other conscripts in his situation, who do not have the possibility to appear in the military commissariats in the time period of the notification or live in far residence places and who, sometimes, not by their fault, have to visit various medical institutions of the capital for a few times to undergo medical examinations.


Armine Sadikyan, Coordinator of Peacebuilding Projects of HCA Vanadzor and also advisor-trainer on servicemen’s rights, says that the problem is long overdue, “When a conscript goes from the region to a medical center in the capital according to the referral, only the expenses of the travel to the capital city are compensated. But if the conscript, not by his fault, of course, has to wait for hours in the medical institution and does not manage to complete the medical examination on the same day, he has to go there once again. And here, conscripts face serious financial problems. Besides the condition that compensations of the referral are little and not proportionate to the current transportation, many conscripts are unable to take a taxi, as it is an additional financial burden on their families, especially during this state of emergency”.


It should be mentioned that for years on end, those concerns were raised in HCA Vanadzor relevant reports concerning the sphere. The report “On the state of the rights of conscripts during winter 2018 and summer 2019 call-ups” particularly mentions that the problem of reimbursement for transport means in order to appear for a medical examination continues remaining completely unsolved. Even in cases when transportation expenses are reimbursed, it does not suffice to reach all the medical institutions, where the conscript is referred, and to return home, “ case of being referred to Yerevan for a medical examination from remote residence places, transportation expense is provided once. If the examination is not conducted because the doctor, and in particular, the relevant specialists are not in the medical institution, the working day is over, or the necessary equipment is not there or does not work, such situations require additional expenses from the citizen in order to come back. This time, however, transportation expenses are not reimbursed”.


HCA Vanadzor also made recommendations in regard to the problem: to provide quality examination of conscripts referred from remote areas in the shortest possible time,i.e. on the same day, if the nature of the disease does not require additional measures; as well as to provide enough financial means to the conscript and the accompanying person to use transportation means and cover night accomodation in the capital (if necessary) in case of being referred to a medical institution.


Once again we record that conscripts’ rights are violated, as the state does not manifest a proper approach in regard to reimbursement. On the eve of summer call-up, the problem is more urgent, as there is no guarantee what steps will be taken by the Defense Ministry to solve transportation problems of conscripts, especially in the state of emergency, when it is highly likely that public transport be prohibited. 


If your rights are violated during the call-up, you can apply to HCA Vanadzor at the following contacts:


On the matters of the rights of conscripts and servicemen

Armine Sadikyan

☎️093339441 (also viber)

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