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The Universal Rights Awards 2015 took place on 4 June 2015 in Yerevan. Such a Ceremony was first organised by the international community in Armenia in 2012 to recognise those individuals and organisations who strive for promotion of equal rights, inclusion and reforms on daily basis. The EU Delegation to Armenia, US Embassy, British Embassy, OSCE Office in Yerevan, Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, and the United Nations Armenia Office honour individuals working to promote human rights, accountable governance, local government reform, and free speech in Armenia at the Universal Rights Awards Ceremony.
The Universal Rights Awards Ceremony is the first multi-mission initiative to highlight the contributions of Armenia’s civil rights activists, government officials, and media and civil society representatives to the promotion of human rights. Armenian government officials, foreign diplomats, NGO representatives, and the press attended the event.
The 2015 Universal Rights Awards Ceremony was comprised of six categories, each recognising an individual or an organisation that had made a significant investment in one of the specified fields. The categories for the 2015 Universal Rights Awards were: woman of courage, government reformer, media excellence, local government reformer, promoting inclusion, and freedom defender:
• The women of courage award was presented to the “Coalition to stop violence against women” by Dirk Lorenz, Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Armenia: ‘The European Union commends the efforts of the Coalition to stop violence against women, recognising the courageous advocacy for the protection of the rights of women and their assistance to victims of domestic violence in Armenia’. ARS_2261
• The government reformer award was given by Richard Mills, Ambassador of the United States of America, to the anti-trafficking working group.
• The British Ambassador to Armenia, Kathy Leach, awarded Zaruhi Mejlumyan from “Hetq.am”, with the media excellence award.
• The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Natalia Voutova, awarded Artsruni Igityan, Mayor of Akhuryan village, with the local government reformer award.
• The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Bradley Busetto, presented the promoting inclusion award to Armen Alaverdyan, the Executive Director of Unison NGO.
• Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, presented the freedom defender award to Shushan Doydoyan, President of the Freedom of Information Centre.