June 16, 2011

Human Rights. Defender’s platform. Civil Society

On 3-4 June 2011 Office of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia (HRDO) convened already third forum in series of forums entitled “Human Rights. Defender’s Platform”. This time forum entitled “Civil Society” was dedicated to the partnership with civil society organizations and brought together 130 participants from more than 85 human rights NGOs, international organizations, attorneys and media. Forum was supported by the European Union, World Vision Armenia and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The aim of the “Civil Society” Forum was to strengthen cooperation and promote active dialogue between the Office of the Human Rights Defender and leading human rights NGOs specialized in the issues of minorities, refugees, children, disabled people, women, military servicemen, rights of persons in detentions and penitentiaries, environmental rights, rights of the persons suffered from violence and torture as well as NGOs promoting the right to a fair trial and the right to freedom of expression.

Followers of @pinkarmenia twitter had possibility to read live tweets of our representative, Mamikon Hovsepyan, who used #CSforum and #HRArmenia as hashtag for those tweets. Below you can read the most important ones.

Day one, July 3

starting the "Civil Society" forum in Tsaghkadzor, organized by Armenian Ombudsman

the Ombudsman takes the floor, presenting his welcome speech

Karen Andreasyan, Ombudsman, mentioned that they specifies 11 spheres to work with

Karen Andreasyan finalized his speech, asking for civil society's support for Ombudsman further work

Raul de Luccenberger, EU representative told that we should be proud to have such an important institution as Ombudsman office in Armenia

once students asked to EU representative, What is the way for Armenia to become an EU member, he answered "To believe"

OSCE will support Ombudsman office for its strengthening and cooperation with human rights defender organizations

representative of National Security Council presenting their strategic plan to protect human rights in Armenia

during the private conversation with Mamikon Hovsepyan, the National Security Council representative denied that Baghdasaryan is homophobe

now Civil Society representatives are presenting human rights violations in 11 spheres mentioned by Ombudsman

FYI: LGBT situation won't be presented, PINK was informed few days ago when the agenda was ready and no changes where available

changes: Ombudsman will sign a separate memorandum with PINK, before it was decided to have with national minorities

organizational side of the forum is a bit weak, but to compare with previous, this ombudsman is better

court, judges, police, juridical institutes... we need changes in this sphere, we need to monitor their work and demand JUSTICE

gender roles: women's participation in decision making, in parliament, in government and high levels is weak

Susanna Vardanyan from Women's Rights Center presenting 3 main types of violence against women: physical, psychological, sexual

S. Vardanyan also talks about the case of Zaruhi Petrosyan, CSVW coalition's work and CS initiatives about the changes of law

mass media representative where beaten, are being beaten and will be beaten until we dont have strong law for freedom of speech

A. Musheghyan: After car accident I couldn't walk anymore, i sent back home from hospital and couldn't reach the 5th floor

Musheghyan: If I become a parliamentarian how can I go to work, they have no conditions for handicapped people

there are 183000 handicapped people in Armenia and 100.000 of them are able to work but they don't work

Ombudsman left the room after the official part of the meeting, some participants call it lack of respect toward civil society

PINK: everybody at this forum talks about respect, tolerance and cooperation but do they all respect others and their rights? Not sure

Most of the speakers didn't understand that it is not an NGO presentation but situation presentation of their sphere

Artak Kirakosyan, CSI, asked the vise-president of Collaboration for Democracy, Mikayel Baghdasaryan to leave the forum as he violated women

As A.Kirakosyan mentioned, Mikayel Baghdasaryan, has beaten his female colleague & more

the last speaker, the main hate speech promoter Karine Danielyan

homophobe Karine Danielyan about human rights. Funny

Karine Danielyan is talking about her sphere, ecology. In other meetings she forgets about her responsibilities, promoting hate

 Day two, July 4

starting discussions with the working groups, felt ignorance & dislike from the side of national minorities toward LGBT issues

human rights defenders of national minorities do not want to see Muslim women with covered head in Armenia

they said national minorities should leave accepting Armenian rules but the still speak about xenophobia

national minorities put their problems next to general problems in Armenia and do not talk about nazism and racism

representative of Jewish minorities said that National Security Council should take care of LGBT issues in Armenia

national minorities want to raise the law of hate speech which was suggested Mamikon Hovsepyan

hardly but finally representatives of national minorities see their problems & in some cases put LGBT rights next to it

Yezidi representative demands places at national assembly, other national minority representative don't care about it

Mamikon asked the representatives of national minorities to accept diversity and respect all kind of human rights

working groups finalized discussions, presentation will be prepared and introduced to the Ombudsman and participants

K. Andreasyan: "There are many other human rights organizations in Armenia but we trust those who are here now"

1. human rights protection in armed forces

2. judicial rights: including issues of fair trials and justice

3. women's rights: women's involvement in politics, women's role in social advertisements, violence against women

4. freedom of speech: including involvement of NGOs in the work regarding freedom of speech

5. rights of handicapped people (people with fewer opportunities)

6. rights of people faced violence and torture: specified mainly in police stations, it was suggested to mention that National Security office is also violating people as in police stations

7. rights of people in prisons

8. children's rights: among other problems was mentioned violence, especially sexual abuse against children

9. Minorities: national, religious, sexual, though there was no representative from religious minorities

10. refugees

11. Environment

first time ever in official document Armenia will use Armenian word to refer LGBT issues

Environment group boycotts and will not sign memorandum, Hope it is not K. Danielyan's idea against LGBT rights protection

June 4, the first ever Armenian document with Armenian terms to protect the rights of LGBT people in Armenia

No comments: