On June 17, Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia, Ms. Kristinne Grigoryan made a video statement during the interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on peaceful assembly held within the framework of the 50th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council.
In her statement Defender Grigoryan reflected on the unique challenges for the rights and freedoms generated as a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic measures, including the emergency situation regime as well as the war in 2020 and declared martial time, followed by early parliamentary elections in 2021.
Ms. Kristinne Grigoryan emphasized that, despite the post war traumatic ambiance created a special environment for political and non-political assemblies with vivid dominance of polarization and hate-speech in public discourse, in general, the enabling environment for the rights of assembly as well as freedom of speech have been ensured and respected.
Presenting the work carried out by the Human Rights Defender’s Office, the Defender noted that the Office continues to closely monitor all the assemblies and rallies, the rapid response groups are holding private interviews with apprehended persons, the regular and social media are monitored, the 24/7 hot line provides advice and support. The Office register the violations, reveal the gaps in conduct of Law enforcement, request clarifications and provide recommendations.
Summarizing her speech, the Defender referred to the following remaining challenges: lack of tailored crowd control trainings, insufficient guidance and clear SOPs for Police, including on proportionate use of force and dialogue, almost absence of female police officers, hateful rhetoric by the side of public actors, as well as lack of understanding on rules of democratic game by organizers of assemblies.