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Domestic violence in Armenia remains a serious problem

Armenian authorities do not protect women and children victims of domestic violence.


Domestic violence in Armenia remains a serious problem. Human Rights Watch has been warning about this for several years. In its annual report published in 2020, the assessment of international human rights experts has not changed.


According to the official data included in the report, authorities investigated 331 cases of domestic violence in the first half of 2019, 176 of which were new cases. 209 indictments have been filed, 45 cases have been sent to court.


For comparison, the 2019 annual report included police data on domestic violence during the first five months of 2018. According to them, there were 864 cases of violence against women, 223 of which were domestic violence cases. As of July 31, indictments have been filed for domestic violence, with seven convicted by the courts.


“In many cases, authorities do not protect women and children who are victims of domestic violence, endangering their lives and well-being. According to the 2017 Law on Domestic Violence, the police are obliged to intervene immediately in the family “if there is a reason for a direct threat of recurrence or continued violence.” However, in practice, law enforcement agencies do not have the protection mechanisms provided by law, ”this year’s international human rights defenders report.


According to data provided by the organization and included in the report by the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women, 10 women were killed by their partners in the first half of 2019. One of the victims is Mariam Asatryan, 30, from Masis town, Ararat province.


“There was hate speech and humiliation in the discussions over the Istanbul Convention”


The Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) has not yet been ratified by the National Assembly.


According to Human Rights Watch, during the ratification of the Convention, some government officials have voiced hate speech and humiliation about LGBT persons. They argue that the Convention has a secret agenda for LGBT propaganda and the legitimacy of same-sex marriage.


The report also draws attention to the frequent harassment, discrimination and violence against LGBT persons, which note that the RA Criminal Code does not consider homophobia and transphobia as aggravating circumstances.


The authors recall that in October last year, the Venice Commission published an expert opinion on the “dangers” of the Istanbul Convention, which concluded that the ratification of the document by Armenia would not contravene the country’s main law, the Constitution.


Human rights activists recall that in April last year the EU delegation and member states’ embassies in Yerevan, as well as the UN Office in Armenia, expressed concern about hate speech directed at transgender activist Lilit Martirosyan (who delivered a speech from the National Assembly).


Armenia is committed to provide full inclusive education by 2025


The authors of the report are making progress on transforming some childcare facilities into community centers and supporting family-based care.


Authorities have undertaken to halt the institutionalization of children with disabilities and to prepare adults for independent living outside the institutions on a need-to-provide basis. In April 2019, the Government, working in partnership with a community group, sought to prevent institutionalization of children with disabilities by conducting appropriate work with families. Authorities made legislative amendments in June to support the organization of childcare in foster families, ”the report said.


But concerns are not dispelled, the organization emphasizes, despite some progress, with many children with disabilities being isolated in special schools, classrooms, or home schooling.


“Children with disabilities in secondary schools do not always receive adequate support, which implies providing reasonable accommodations for education. These are hearing aids, books in braille, audio or other formats and other supporting materials, ”the authors note, noting that Armenian legislation allows adults with intellectual disabilities to be recognized as disabled and deprived of their right to make decisions.


The report also addressed the issue of responsibility for law enforcement, environmental and human rights abuses, in particular environmental protests against the resumption of construction of the Amulsar Gold Mine, and clashes between police and demonstrators during them.

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