Home Statements Human rights are universal and cannot have national limitations: Statement
2019 Apr

Human rights are universal and cannot have national limitations: Statement

On 5 April 2019, the National Assembly of Armenia held parliamentary hearings dedicated to the national human rights agenda upon the initiative of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights and Public Affairs and with the support of UNDP Armenia and the Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia. The speeches and comments pronounced during the hearings revealed once again the serious systemic problems in regards to respecting and protecting fundamental human rights. The attitude of Naira Zohrabyan, Member of the National Assembly, Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Human Rights and Public Affairs, and of a group of other members of parliament towards a representative of the LGBT community was a grave violation of human rights, which seriously breached the mission of the Standing Committee.

We, the below-signed representatives of organisations and individuals, join all the citizens and local and international organisations that expressed concerns over the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms that took place in the National Assembly of New Armenia.

We express profound concern over the response of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Armenia, which presumably represents the official position of the Government of the Republic of Armenia. The response subordinates human rights, namely the right to be free from discrimination and equal rights, to the “principle of public morals,” which is totally unacceptable and not befitting a state that has adopted democratic principles.

We urge the Government of the Republic of Armenia to reconsider its official position and to ascertain that it is unreservedly committed to the principles of human rights protection and to the respect for the dignity of persons—commitments under the Republic of Armenia Constitution and international treaties without exceptions, bias and ambiguity.

We hereby urge the Government of the Republic of Armenia:

  • To take immediate and effective measures to hold liable those who incite and perpetrate grave violations of human rights, discrimination, hate and violence, who continue the unlawful practices under a disguise of “public morals,” which were widespread under the previous regime and entertained within the atmosphere of impunity;
  • To assert the supremacy of human rights and democratic values in the state and all related institutions; and
  • To organise wide-scale educational and awareness-raising initiatives in order to eliminate the propaganda of discrimination and hate speech, reaching dangerous levels in recent years, and to recover the violated rights of citizens.

Other organisations and individuals are invited to join this statement.

Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Open Society Foundations-Armenia
Asparez Club of Journalists
Pink Human Rights NGO
Soseh Women’s Issues NGO
Public Journalism Club
Armavir Development Center
Women’s Support Center
New Generation Humanitarian NGO
Spitak Helsinki Group human rights NGO
Journalists for Human Rights NGO
Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation
Center for Human Rights Research
Women’s Resource Center
Educational Center for Equal Rights NGO
Civic Youth Center NGO
Coalition against Discrimination and for Equality
Power of the Law NGO
Dialogue for Peace NGO
Women in Black, Armenia peace-building initiative
Society without Violence NGO
Gyumri Civic Youth Center
Women’s Rights House
Bekoom NGO
Colorful House social-cultural human rights NGO
Real World, Real People NGO
Coalition against Violence against Women
Helsinki Association human rights NGO
Human Rights House Yerevan
Helsinki Committee of Armenia
Logos human rights NGO
Women’s Rights Center
International Center for Democracy and Electoral Processes NGO
Tatevik NGO
Public Policy Institute
Free Citizen center for support to civic initiatives NGO
Khoran Ard intellectual center NGO
Ani Aghagyulyan, lawyer
Gohar Alexanyan
Karen Tumanyan