On July 5, 1995 the Armenian people, based on the fundamental
principles of Armenian statehood and national aspirations engraved in the
Declaration of Independence of Armenia, asserting their faithfulness to
universal values, adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.
The Constitution defines the responsibility of the state to
ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms based on the Constitution
and laws in accordance with the principles and norms of international law (Article
The first attempt to create the first state organization aimed
at the protection of human rights in the Republic of Armenia based on the
mentioned constitutional norm was made in late 1990’s. Particularly, based on
the need to ensure the protection of human rights and freedoms and to create
reliable guarantees for that, by the decree NH-32 of the RA President dated
April 27, 1998, the Commission on Human Rights under the President of the
Republic of Armenia was established. The decree stated the composition and
charter of the Commission, defined its main goals and tasks.
The Commission was an advisory body whose main tasks were the
support and protection of human rights and freedoms, the analysis of draft
legal acts presented to the President on human constitutional rights and
freedoms, giving an opinion on the laws submitted for the signing and
Government decisions submitted for ratification by the President on human
constitutional rights and freedoms, discussion of complaints submitted to the
President or the Commission regarding violations of human rights, preparation
of the annual report on the guarantees and state of protection of human rights,
In order to address the above-mentioned problems the Commission
was authorized to require and obtain from state and local self-government
bodies and officials information necessary for its operation, perform studies
and research with the consent of the President, if necessary, make working
groups or sub-groups from its members, organize conferences, seminars, TV
programs on the issues of protection of human rights, etc.
The activities of the Commission became the basis for the
formation of the Human Rights Defender as an independent official and his staff
in the Republic of Armenia.
On October 21, 2003, the RA Law “On the Human Rights Defender”
was adopted. In January 2004, after the Law came into force, the Commission on
Human Rights under the President of the Republic of Armenia stopped
The RA Law “On the Human Rights Defender” stated that the
Defender was an independent and irremovable official, who protects human rights
and freedoms violated by state and local self-government bodies and officials
governed by the fundamental principles of legality, civil society and social justice
(Article 2). The law defined the main directions of activities and powers of
the Human Rights Defender.
The establishment of the Institute was a significant step aimed
at ensuring the regulated protection of human rights and freedoms in the country.
The Human Rights Defender became the member of the worldwide family of the
traditional “Ombudsman institutions” established in other countries already in
the 18th century. The word “Ombudsman” is of Scandinavian
origin: it was first used by the Swedish king in 1713 when founding the “Royal
supreme ombudsman” institution.
Presently there are Ombudsman institutions in more than 100
As a result of the constitutional amendments adopted by
referendum on November 27, 2005, defined were a number of legal norms that
stated the role and importance of the Human Rights Defeder as a constitutional
In particular, Article 18 of the Constitution declared that
everyone shall be entitled to have the support of the Human Rights Defender for
the protection of his/her rights and freedoms on the grounds and in conformity
with the procedure prescribed by law.
The Constitution guarantees the independence and inviolability
of the Human Rights Defender, establishes the duty of the state and local self-government
bodies to cooperate with the Human Rights Defender. At the constitutional level
the Human Rights Defender became an independent and irremovable official. The
Constitution also stipulates that any person held in high esteem by the public
may be elected as a Human Rights Defender.
As a result of the Constitutional amendments adopted by the
referendum in 2015, a separate chapter - Chapter 10 established the procedure
for the election of the Human Rights Defender, his main functions, performance
guarantees, the state’s obligation to ensure the proper financing of the
activities of the Human Rights Defender, etc.
Article 103 of the Constitution for the first time stated that
the Law on the Human Rights Defender is a constitutional law.
Article 191 of the Constitution stipulates that the Human Rights
Defender is an independent official who ensures the protection of human rights
and freedoms by state and local self-government bodies and officials, and in
cases defined by the Law on Human Rights Defender – by organizations as well,
contributes to the restoration of violated rights and freedoms, improves the
normative legal acts related to the rights and freedoms (Article 191).
Now the Institute of Human Rights Defender of the Republic of
Armenia complies with the requirements and standards of the National Ombudsman
2006 the institute has an “A” international status, which indicates
compliance with the Paris Principles, as well as being an accredited National
Institute of the United Nations.