Tag Archives: law

For many years civil society organisations, activists, individuals have been fighting for having Law on Gender-Based Violence in Armenia. The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women together with its lawyers drafted a law and presented it to the Ministry of Justice years ago; however, there was no progress with the initiative.
The European Union has offered Armenia human rights budget support for 2017 with conditionalities attached, one of which is that the country adopts a law on gender-based violence in 2016. This condition reflects the importance of stopping violence against women, a value to which the EU strongly prescribes and which it promotes both at home and abroad.
On 14 October 2016, the Ministry of Justice organised a consultation with civil society organisations to engage in the process of drafting and defining the key elements of a law on gender-based violence.
The meeting was moderated by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Vigen Kocharyan, who welcomed this participatory process: ‘This draft law was prepared by a special group and initiated by the Armenian government. This is the first draft to be discussed with CSO representatives. Their years of practice and experience will be highly relevant. We welcome criticism, but mostly we want to listen to what civil society has to offer, both conceptually and detailed analysis of the provisions of the law itself. We are open for dialogue and, while this consultation is the first, it will not be the last’.
CSOs represented included different NGOs and members of Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women. Susanna Vardanyan, Head of the Women rights Centre and a member of the Coalition, welcomed the invitation: ‘We appreciate this meeting and initiative, as we have been fighting for this issue for many, many years. We are happy that the initial draft which we prepared and presented to the government has been partly reflected in the new version. We have discussed it with our lawyers, and prepared some offers and observations’.
The meeting concluded with the decision to organise a second consultation with CSO representatives once the feedback has been incorporated and the draft finalised to engage in a final round of discussions.

The EU and the Council of Europe (CoE) have agreed to implement targeted cooperation activities in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine). The idea is to bring them closer to the European standards of human rights, democracy and rule of law. From 2015-2017 projects will be implemented under the programmatic cooperation framework (PCF). Within the framework of this cooperation, 4 country-specific projects for Armenia have started, all co-financed by the European Union. Press conference on the details of the cooperation framework took place on 1 October 2015.
IMG_7349The Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, underlined the EU’s commitment to supporting Armenia in justice, human rights, and other areas: ‘The EU stands by Armenian citizens by improving society and their livelihoods. We are talking about very important projects in the regional framework – there are so many fields on which we are working together with the CoE, and 4 in particular in Armenia. To have a successful project you need to have financial and technical support, and this is what we are providing. On the other hand, for successful results we need to have an active civil society. This is why the EU always stands next to Armenian civil society organisations’.
The Head of the CoE Office in Yerevan, Natalia Voutova, opened the press conference by describing the details of the cooperation framework: ‘The main objectives of our cooperation with the EU are to bring all EaP countries closer to European standards. The implementation priorities of the projects in each country are specific and are based on action plans. For the CoE, priorities are based on the CoE action plan for Armenia which will run until 2017. In this context, the CoE is the implementing organisation of the programmatic cooperation framework. We have started all four projects in Armenia, and they are coordinated in close cooperation with the Armenian government, authorities and stakeholders’.
Paruyr Hovhannisyan, Head of the European Department of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mentioned that democracy, human rights, and rule of law are values Armenia shares with the EU and the CoE. He went on to stress that progress on achieving these aims would only happen with good cooperation between partners.
The country-specific projects for Armenia that are being implemented are:
• 1. Strengthening healthcare and human rights protection in prisons in Armenia
This project will assess the needs of prison healthcare in Armenia, revise legislation, procure medical equipment for 11 healthcare units, and provide training on medical ethics and health promotion. The project started in March 2015 and will end in February 2017. The overall budget is €900,000.
• 2. Supporting criminal justice reform and combating ill-treatment and impunity in Armenia
This project will strengthen institutional mechanisms, legislation, and train prosecutors and investigators to combat ill-treatment and impunity in the criminal justice system. The project will be implemented between July 2015 to July 2017. The overall budget is €500,000.
• 3. Strengthening integrity and combating corruption in higher education in Armenia
This project will promote legal mechanisms for ensuring integrity and fighting corruption, as well as provide training courses, and introduce model codes of ethics for educators and students. The project timeframe is January 2015 to December 2016. The overall budget is €400,000.
• 4. Long-term electoral assistance to the election related stakeholders of Armenia:
The project aims to improve legislation, train electoral body staff and judges, and strengthen mechanisms for settling electoral disputes. The project started in January 2015 and will run to December 2017. The overall budget is €95,000.
Arkadi Sytine, PCF coordinator, made a presentation about the ongoing projects and described all of the details of the framework.