The Study Visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association to Armenia

Kleman Vulen, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association is in Armenia within the period of November 7-16 of 2018.

On November 9 of 2018, Mr. Vulen had a meeting with civil society representatives. Araks Melkonyan, legal expert of the Protection of Right without Borders NGO also participated in the above mentioned meeting.

Mr. Vulen presented the civil society representatives the situation of protection of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association in the Republic of Armenia, as well as raised a number of issues of concern.

Araks Melkonyan, representative of the Protection of Right without Borders NGO particularly highlighted the human rights violations during the mass demonstrations in Armenia during the past few years.

  1. Melkonyan presented the abuse of the criminal legislation and the application of criminal persecutions against participants during the peaceful assemblies of both July events of 2016 and April 2018 event in Armenia.

Particularly, within the criminal cases instituted on the grounds of Articles 225 and 225.1 (organizing of mass disorders or participating in it accompanied with violence) of the RA Criminal Code, the participants of the peaceful assembly have been detained as a result of application of their right to participate in peaceful assemblies. Only after the government reforms, the criminal cases instituted on the grounds of the same articles of the Criminal Code in 2016 have been discontinued and the persecution against the latter has been stopped.

Araks Melkonyan also spoke about the practice of applying excessive force against the participants of peaceful assembly, including application of special forces against the participants of peaceful assemblies during detention, as well as the lack of effective remedy during such cases. A special emphasis was made to the investigation of the criminal case in regard to the application of special measures by the police during the protest in July 29 of 2016 and to the issues of its discontinuation on September 18 of 2018 on the grounds of the absence of the person involved as a witness.

The cases of ill treatment against the detainees, lack of procedural guarantees of the detainees, as well as the violations of the detainees’ rights to learn about their rights, to legal assistance, to making a call and other rights were also presented.

The problems related to the application of the juveniles rights to freedom of assembly during the peaceful assemblies of April events of 2018 during both detention, as well as the cases of ill treatment against the latter at police stations were particularly emphasized.

It should be mentioned, that the Special Rapporteur is an independent expert selected by the United Nations Human Rights Council, who is authorized to examined and report about human rights protection, including also the human rights situation in a concrete state. The report on the right to freedom of assemblies and association

The full article about the official visit published by the United Nations is available with the following link

www.un.am/en/news/