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Statement on the Draft Amendments to the Law on Public Organizations proposed by the State Revenue Committee, Armenia

On October 29 2018, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia published a draft of amendments to the Law on Public Organizations (hereinafter Draft) that introduce changes to the reporting requirements of CSOs. It is important and urgent that the Armenian government revises the authority assigned to oversee the CSOs’ and returns this responsibility to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, or takes necessary measures to ensure that the oversight by SRC does not work against the notion of the freedom of association, prescribed by the Constitution and international law. 


Statement on the preconditions for holding free and fair elections

We, the undersigned organizations, in the run-up to Yerevan City Council snap elections, restate the importance of providing preconditions for free and fair elections stated still in April 2018. We call on the heads of CEC and CTR to reconsider the expediency of their participation in the respective commissions and be dismissed to regain public trust in the elections.


Armenian NGOs' statement on trial verdicts of Jirayr Sefilyan and others' case

The judgment in the case of Jirayr Sefilyan and others was pronounced on 20 March 2018 at the Shengavit Seat (by judge Tatevik Grigoryan) of the General Jurisdiction Court of the City of Yerevan. Jirayr Sefilyan, the commander of the Shushi special military battalion, was convicted to the heaviest sentence—10 years and 5 months of imprisonment. Hovhannes Petrosyan, who collaborated with the law-enforcement bodies, received the most lenient sentence—2 years.


Concerns about draft law on Higher Education of RA

On March 16, 2018 during the Session of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of the RA Parliament the draft law on Higher Education (hereafter, Draft) was approved and suggested to include in the agenda of upcoming parliament session on March 20. The Standing Committee also decided to discuss the Draft with a special procedure, organizing the second hearings after the first hearings in 24 hours. 


Statement of The Armenian Member Organizations of the European Platform for Democratic Elections

On March 13, 2018, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation declared the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) and its Lithuanian member International Elections Study Center (IESC) "undesirable organizations."


Statement regarding Yerevan municipality proposal to regulate the activities of media representatives

Yerevan municipality put forward for discussion in journalistic circles the proposals for regulating the activities of media representatives in the city administration building. It is obvious that this initiative of the municipal authorities is not driven by day-to-day necessity, but rather by the scandalous incident that occurred in the municipality on February 19, 2018. On that day the “А1+” TV company and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service correspondents, which were filming in the city administration building accompanied by Zaruhi Postanjyan, Head of “Yerkir Tsirani” opposition faction at Yerevan Council of Elders, faced harsh obstruction to their professional activities. Artur Gevorgyan, Head of Information and Public Relations Department of Yerevan municipality, did not allow Zaruhi Postanjyan to continue speaking with the journalists in the municipality building, and afterwards with the help of the police blocked the entrance to her office, making the journalists leave the building.


NGOs demand that the decision on holding government sessions behind closed doors be revised

By decision of the RA National Assembly Speaker the draft law “On the Structure and Activities of the Government”, which has not undergone thorough public discussion and has been harshly criticized by the media and non-governmental organizations, was placed on the agenda of the extraordinary session to be convened following the end of the February 27, 2018 regular sessions. The document envisages that the RA Government sessions will be held behind closed doors starting from the day the RA President-elect takes office. According to the document, ministers are prohibited from providing information on the discussion of any issue included in the agenda of the sessions without the permission of the Prime Minister. Furthermore, the authors of the draft law attempt to present the adoption of such work style as manifestation of democracy and guarantee for efficient operation.