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Statements
2019 Sep
27

Statement on the attacks on OSF-Armenia

The Armenian office of Open Society Foundations – OSF-Armenia has been subjected to various types of attacks over the last seven months. For the last two weeks the so-called “Veto” initiative has impeded the regular functioning of OSF- Armenia office by blocking it, consistently using hate speech and exerting psychological pressure on the foundation’s staff and partners, along with threatening its visitors.

Since it began its work in 1997, OSF-Armenia assisted human rights and democratization processes in Armenia by supporting the protection of fundamental human rights, the conduct of free and fair elections, access to education and health care, rule of law, and fight against corruption and impunity. It is evident that currently by targeting OSF-Armenia, in fact they publicly attack the values of democracy and human rights, targeting besides OSF-Armenia other associations as well, that cherish those values. The arranged attacks are obviously provoked and launched by those people during whose tenure of employment thousands of citizens’ right to fair trial, myriad children’s right to education and innumerable employees’ labor rights were violated. And now they wage a struggle against the values of democratic revolution and revolutionary authorities by disseminating distorted and false information about the latter and by labeling them as “foreign agents”, thus taking advantage of the prejudice which they stir up in public. 

Unfortunately, we have to state that except for ensuring police presence in the area, in parallel with “Veto” initiative’s campaign, the Armenian authorities do not take any actions to safeguard the organization’s activity, which is registered in Armenia and carries out legitimate actions. By their factual inaction they fail to perform their duty - the respect for and protection of the basic rights and freedoms of the human being and the citizen, stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (Article 3, para. 2), thus encouraging further spread of violence based on hate and atmosphere of impunity. Subsequent inaction is impermissible and may lead to unpredictable consequences. 

It is worthwhile noting that the Open Society Foundations offices are blocked and attacked only in limited countries in the world, where tyrannical rule or authoritarian regimes reign.  

We hope that the indifference displayed by the Armenian authorities and lack of any assessment do not imply an inclination toward tyranny.

The actions taken by “Veto” initiative should not be supported according to the standards of democratic states, since they, as a matter of fact, violate the values supported by democratic states, encourage discrimination, cause violation of a number of rights stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, in particular,

  1. dignity of the human being that shall constitute the integral basis of his or her rights and freedoms (Article 3)
  2. the right to mental integrity (Article 25)
  3. the right to inviolability of his or her private life, honor and good reputation (Article 31)
  4. the right to act freely (Article 39)
  5. the right to freedom of movement (Article 40)
  6. the freedom of associations (Article 45).
     

We demand that

  1. the Police of the Republic of Armenia take immediate measures to eliminate infringement against OSF-Armenia office and its staff, by ensuring the protection of the Armenian citizens,
  2. the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia present his official position on the human right violations caused due to “Veto” initiative,
  3. the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport make his assessment on the above-mentioned violations of teachers’ rights, committed on September 25, 2019
  4. the Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs of the National Assembly of Armenia come up with an assessment on the state’s commitment to protect freedom of association and a legislative initiative providing restriction of spreading hate speech.

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor
Transparency International Anticorruption Center
Journalists’ Club “Asparez”
“For Equal Rights” NGO
Law Development and Protection Foundation
“Union of Informed Citizens” NGO
Armenian Progressive Youth NGO
Public Journalism Club
“EcoLur” Informational NGO
Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation NGO
“Veles” Human Rights NGO
“Khoran Ard” Intellectual Center NGO
National Center of Public Policy Research NGO
Armenian Innocence Project NGO
“Peace Dialogue” NGO
“Sose” Women’s Issues NGO
Helsinki Committee of Armenia NGO
Institute of Public Policy
“Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO
“Restart” Student Civic Initiative
“Helsinki Association” Human Rights NGO
Real World, Real People NGO
“New Generation” Humanitarian NGO
Investigative Journalists NGO
"Lukashin Agricultural Association" Consumer Cooperative
“Pink” human rights defender NGO