OSCE contributes to reinforcing human rights in Armed Forces of Armenia

DILIJAN, Tavush province of Armenia, 1 October 2014 – Around 30 Armenian Armed Forces personnel will participate in an OSCE-supported human rights training course which started today in Dilijan.

The 4-day training builds on a large-scale train the trainer programme developed and implemented in 2013 to help the Defence Ministry strengthen the protection of human rights in the Armed Forces. The initiative is implemented by a non-governmental organization Protection of Rights Without Borders with the support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and with the co-operation of the Defence Ministry.

“Human rights education mainstreaming remains a focus of OSCE activities”, said Radka Rubilina, Human Rights Officer, OSCE Office in Yerevan. “This training will not only advance  knowledge of human rights, but will also help develop practical skills in exercising these rights based on national and international human rights standards and disciplinary rules deriving from service.”

The training, conducted by experts in the field of human rights, will touch upon the basic definitions of human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as the right to liberty and security, freedom of movement, freedom of religion and expression, prohibition of discrimination and ill treatment. Various interactive teaching methods will be employed like team work, case studies of criminal cases and moot courts. Each training session will also clarify the requirements and duties of military staff.

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, President of Protection of Rights Without Borders NGO, said: “We have started the project with the belief that human rights education in the Armed Forces will address the causes of human rights violations and will encourage soldiers to uphold their own rights as well as the rights of others. It will be a long path from human rights education to safeguarding human rights in the military system, but we are determined to take that path. Human rights education brings new cultures of communication into the Armed Forces and develops a unique channel for civil-military relations”.

The methodology of the training will be based on The Handbook on Human Rights of Armed Forces Personnel and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces Personnel, developed by OSCE/ODIHR and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF), and the teaching manual developed and supported by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

A similar 4-day training is currently being held in Goris, Syunik province of Armenia.