Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for the ‘Armenia’ Category

Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.


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Two Decades Since USSR Broke Up. What Happened To Soviet Countries?

Posted by Info on 23/10/2011

Twenty years on from the Soviet coup gave birth to 15 new states. Guardian data team mined statistics from sources ranging from the World Bank, the UNHCR, the UN Crime Trends Survey and the Happy Planet Index to compare the performance of the countries, combed through the OSCE’s reports on every election in each country since 1991 to see where democracy was taking hold – and where it was not wanted.


Democratic records are exemplary, but the countries sit surprisingly low on international measures for wellbeing and happiness.

Ukraine and Moldova sustained catastrophic economic contraction.. Belarus, under the autocratic rule of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, suffered less. The troika has the weakest economic figures of all post-Soviet regions. Moldova has the best record of free and fair elections, BUT with return a communist (Vladimir Voronin) to power. Moldova also hosts to one of the post-Soviet space’s many frozen conflicts of the Transdniestr region Ukraine’s democratic turning point – the orange revolution of 2004 – rapidly gave way to paralysis and stalemate… In Belarus, Lukashenko has faced lengthy international isolation for crushing opposition and dissent.

Azerbaijan’s oil dividend makes it one of the strongest performing economies. Armenia and Georgia have both seen incipient growth through the 2000s rudely interrupted by the global recession of 2008/09. The frozen conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Abkhazia (Georgia) ..Georgia and Russia has resulted in the only war between former Soviet republics (2008). Armenia suffers from the worst unemployment of all 15 republics, and democratic breakthroughs have been few – only Georgia has held free and fair elections.

A mixed economic story: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expanded their economies more than 400 %. And although these are the happiest post-Soviet republics not one has held a genuinely free or fair election since 1990; central Asia is where elections are deferred or else won with 99 percent of the vote by dictators who lock up their opponents and even ban ballet and name a month of the year after their mother (Turkmenistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not post-Soviet at all: they have simply stuck with the strongmen who led them out of the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan the leader died in 2006, while Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon has run his republic uncontested since 1992. Only in Kyrgyzstan Soviet-era leader Askar Akayev was ousted in 2005.

Russia has reversed its dramatic economic decline. .its life expectancy persisting below 70 on account of, among other factors, chronic problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Russia has the highest HIV rate (along with Ukraine), the highest homicide rate and the highest prison population of the former Soviet Union. Elections are once again foregone conclusions; governors, once elected, are now appointed. The ‘vertical’ of power centred on the Kremlin appears as strong as it was in Soviet times.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, EU, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

CSTO To Compile Register Of Terrorist And Extremist Organizations

Posted by Info on 08/03/2011

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (or the “O-De-Ke-Be” in Russian) consisting of the countries like Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is going to create a common register of terrorist and extremist organizations that pose a threat to security in the region and thus are designated as illegal.

The idea implies that any “terrorist” organization that has been officially designated as such, for instance, in the territory of the Russian Federation, shall fall under the same category in all member-states of the Organization and therefore be subject to persecution in accordance with the existing national legislation. In the meantime, representatives of criminal communities persecuted in one of the member-states are often able to seek an asylum in neighboring countries and stay free away from prosecution or indictment.

The CSTO pays a special attention to the problem of illegal drug-traffic and therefore plans to create a “Center to combat the drug traffic” in Kyrgyzstan. The Drug Control Agency is currently working on the respective proposals.

CSTO is not considering the creation of a new military base in the south of Kyrgyzstan in spite of a preliminary agreement regarding the creation of another Russian military base that was made on August 1, 2009 by the president D. Medvedev and the former Kyrgyz president K. Bakiev.

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PACE Names Nine States With Delays’ In Implementing Judgments Of EC

Posted by Info on 27/01/2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its adopted resolution, based on a report by Christos Pourgourides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), the Assembly said structural problems in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine were causing “extremely worrying delays” in implementing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The main problems were deaths or ill-treatment caused by law-enforcement officials, unlawful or over-long detention, legal proceedings which take too long and court judgments which are not enforced.

Other states with outstanding problems include include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzgovina, Georgia and Serbia.

In a separate resolution, based on a report by David Darchiashvili (Georgia, EPP/CD), the Assembly also denounced “blatant disregard” of the Court by some states which had ignored its clear instructions not to deport individuals who might be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. Such “interim measures”, usually involving failed asylum seekers or irregular migrants whose expulsion is imminent, are intended to give the Court time to consider their complaints. States should “fully comply with the letter and spirit” of these requests.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, EU, Georgia, Moldova, others, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan + Russia Among Most Undemocratic Countries In EIU Index

Posted by Info on 27/12/2010

The Economist Intelligence Unit has presented its “The Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat” report, in which Uzbekistan occupied 164th place among the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

The EIU said that the world became less democratic in the review period. “The economic and financial crisis boosted some authoritarian regimes and accentuated existing negative political trends, most notably in Europe, both east and west.”

The report analysed the state of democracy in 167 countries on five key indicators: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Norway was named the most democratic country, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and The Netherlands. The USA and Britain came 17th and 19th respectively.

Russia came 107th behind Kyrgyzstan in 106th place in the group of hybrid regimes. Moldova (64th) and Ukraine (67th)
were listed in the group of flawed democracies, while Georgia (103rd) and Armenia (109th) were listed in the group of hybrid regimes.

All other CIS countries were listed in the group of authoritarian regimes: Belarus (130th), Kazakhstan (132nd), Azerbaijan (135th), Tajikistan (149th), Uzbekistan (164th) and Turkmenistan (165th).

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

CSTO And It’s List Of Terrorist Organisations

Posted by Info on 23/09/2010

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) has its list of terrorist and extremist organisations whose members will be prosecuted in member countries. Added to the list of forbidden organisations in 2009 were the following seven groups: Dzhamiat-e-Tablig, Dzhamaat Mujahedin Central Asia, Islamic Jihad-Dzhamaat Mujahedin, Nurdzhular, Salafia, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magrib countries, and Tajikistan Ozod.
Vyacheslav Volokh, a representative of the CSTO secretariat, said the list increase the effectiveness of interaction and the exchange of information between national special forces and law-enforcement agencies in the CSTO member countries.

Under CSTO guidelines an organisation is considered terrorist if one of the member countries has presented it as such to the CSTO Permanent Council. The decision must then be confirmed by the member countries. The new list has already been discussed by the council and has been submitted to member countries. If approved in 2009, the list would include a total of 29 terrorist and extremist organisations.

The CSTO includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The latter was active in founding the organisation. Tashkent recommended that the Hizb ut-Takhrir party and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan be included on the list of terrorist organisations. Tashkent suspended its CSTO membership in 1998, saying it gained nothing from being a member. It returned to the organisation in 2006. The catalyst for the change of heart, according to experts, was Russia’s support of President Karimov following the events in Andizhan in May 2005. Alexei Malashenko, a member of the Moscow Carnegie Centre research council, said the CSTO as a security structure is very important to Uzbekistan and Tashkent has no intention of leaving the organisation again.

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Number Of Azerbaijani Citizens, Asking For Asylum Abroad, Increased By 36%

Posted by Info on 27/05/2010

Most Azerbaijani citizens wish to move to EU countries. So, if in 2008 there had been 1,691 applications for asylum, then in 2009 the figure was 2319. Results for the last 2 years by citizens of Azerbaijan received 4010 petitions.

Last year the number of Armenian citizens, who submitted the request for asylum has increased by 43% compared to 2008.

In Georgia increased by as much as 102%, that is, in fact the number wishing to leave the country in 2009 doubled compared to 2008.

The most attractive country for residence were the United States (in 2009, asylum in the United States asked 49 thousand people), followed by France (41 thousand), Canada (33 thousand), UK (29 thousand), Germany (27,5 thousand).

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Armenian Police In Rare Apology Over Torture

Posted by Info on 03/05/2010

In an unprecedented public apology, the head of Armenia’s police service has admitted misleading the nation about the recent death of a young man in police custody. Alik Sargsian on April 30 said he was “deceived” by his subordinates into thinking that Vahan Khalafian was not ill-treated at a police station in Charentsavan, in central Armenia.

“I am going to punish all of my employees who gave me incorrect information and thereby put me in an awkward situation.”

His statement came one day after Ashot Harutiunian, a senior police officer in Charentsavan, was formally charged with torturing Khalafian to extract a confession about a theft committed in the town. The 24-year-old died in police custody, with his relatives insisting that he was tortured to death.

Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) said the charge is based on testimony given by other local police officers.

“I am not going to defend anyone and all the guilty [people] will be punished,” said Sargsian. “I never encouraged beatings. There are more proper ways of doing the job.” “Let those people whom I misinformed with my statements forgive me,” he added. “As for those who deceived me, they will be punished with all the strictness of the law. I am not going to forgive anyone.”

Sargsian, however, stuck to police claims that Khalafian grabbed a knife from a police officer’s drawer and stabbed himself to death after the interrogation.

Artur Sakunts, a human rights campaigner: “How could a tortured and beaten young man quickly find a knife in a room totally unfamiliar to him? How did he know where it was kept? Or did they put the knife on a table and tell him to kill himself?… So I believe what happened was murder.

While welcoming the police apology, Sakunts said Sargsian should have gone further and stepped down.“A mere apology can not change the situation.”

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Turkey Threatens To Deport 100,000 Armenians IF…

Posted by Info on 17/03/2010

Turkey’s prime minister has warned that he might deport up to 100,000 Armenians living in Turkey without citizenship after resolutions passed by U.S. and Swedish lawmakers defining World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Earlier this month, Turkey withdrew its ambassadors to Washington and Stockholm after a U.S. congressional committee and the Swedish parliament passed the non-binding resolutions.

Armenia under Diplomatic Siege
When Armenia signed the Protocols last October with Turkey it was believed that .. Armenia being a strategic ally of Russia was desperately trying to implement its foreign policy of complementarism, by cooperating with NATO structures. The idea of the Protocols was the centerpiece of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy agenda… Therefore, the Armenian leadership believed that they would be in the good graces of the US by giving a chance for the Protocols to succeed.

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Armenian Judiciary Criticized By Democracy Watchdog OSCE

Posted by Info on 12/03/2010

In a long-awaited report, the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) concluded that at least some of the trials of the arrested oppositionists were not fair because of a pro-government bias shown by judges.

Also the United States has again criticized the Armenian authorities’ human rights record
, saying that they have continued to stifle dissent, manipulate elections, tolerate police brutality and restrict judicial independence over the past year.

“Authorities restricted the right of citizens to freely change their government in [the May 2009] mayoral elections in Yerevan. During the year authorities subjected citizens, particularly those considered by the government to be political opponents, to arbitrary arrest, detention, and imprisonment for their political activities;..Authorities continued to use harassment … measures to intimidate and retaliate against political opponents. Authorities used force to disperse political demonstrations …”

Ill-treatment of criminal suspects in police custody has long been regarded as the most frequent form of human rights violation in Armenia.
security bodies “regularly” beating and bullying detainees to extract false confessions.

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HR Council:Dialogue On Human Rights Of Internally Displaced Persons

Posted by Info on 11/03/2010

9. March Geneva: The Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue on human rights of internally displaced persons – with Walter Kalin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons

RUSSIAN FEDERATION – MIKHAIL LEBEDEV said the Russian Federation regretted that the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons had adopted a one-sided and politicized approach when developing his report. Based on how the situation could be interpreted, it should have been the delegation of South Ossetia which should have spoken as a concerned country in this dialogue. … The delegation noted that in Mr. Kalin’s report there was no word on the suffering of South Ossetians as a result of the attacks of Georgian armed forces… The report of Mr. Kalin was provocative and the Russian Federation was not able to agree with it. ..the delegation asserted that the Russian Federation had never exercised effective control over the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia and that persons who resided in that region were fully under the jurisdiction of South Ossetia.

GEORGIA – GEORGE TUGUSHI, of Public Defender of Georgia, said Mr Kalin.. was well aware of the situation of internally displaced persons in Georgia. .. As a result of the armed conflict, approximately 25,000 persons were forced to flee.... Out of this huge number, a very limited number of persons were able to return. During the armed activities, as well as in the aftermath of the ethnic cleansing of the villages of the ethnic Georgian population, looting of ethnically Georgian villages and property took place, with a negative effect on internally displaced persons as it intensified their fear of returning. The Public Defender expressed his concern regarding the existing situation..

ARMENIA -VAHEH GEVORGYAN appreciated the excellent work done by Walter Kalin, in the course of his term, particularly that in the area of developing a solid normative basis and an institutional framework to better protect and meet the needs of internally displaced persons…. In 2008, the Government of Armenia had approved an assistance project aimed to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons who resided in border settlements to their places of origin. .. Armenia had conducted the preparatory work to convene an international conference in autumn of this year to raise the necessary funds.

AZERBAIJAN -SAMIRA SAFAROVA The Government did not have any facts at its disposal, and it stood ready for investigation of any facts to be provided.

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Human Rights Council Holds Panel Discussion On Right To Truth

Posted by Info on 11/03/2010

9 March Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said while the right to truth had initially been linked to cases of the missing and disappeared persons, it had extended to other gross violations of human rights, such as extrajudicial executions and torture. It implied knowing the full and complete truth about events… In cases of enforced disappearance and missing persons, it implied knowing the fate and whereabouts of the victim.

AZERBAIJAN – AKRAM ZEYNALLI thanked Argentina for initiating the resolution on the right to truth, which Azerbaijan fully supported. The right to truth was connected with the right to information, justice and reparation and contributed to the end of impunity and to the promotion of human rights. Azerbaijan shared the views expressed in the report that the right to truth entailed knowledge of violations of human rights. The right to truth was a pillar of protection that ought to be given to missing persons and their families…Council resolution 9/11 recognized the need to study the link between the right to truth and the right to access to justice and other human rights in cases of gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

ARMENIA -VAHEH GEVORGYAN said the right to truth was getting more and more recognition as a global concept upon which an ongoing struggle by oppressed groups and individuals for justice and peace was anchored. …

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Armenia May Cancel International Treaties Prior To Enactment

Posted by Info on 16/02/2010

The government of Armenia has approved a bill “On Making Additions in the Law ‘On International Treaties'”, assuming Armenia’s possibility to cancel international treaties prior they come into legal force.

According to the amendments, a signatory may, at any moment prior a signed treaty comes into its legal force, refuse from taking part in it, having notified about its intention in advance. It was stated at the sitting of the government that this provision corresponds to Article 18 of the Viennese Convention on International Treaties.

In December 2009, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan said, when touching on the situation with the Armenian-Turkish Protocols: “Armenia is ready to properly execute its international obligations – to ratify the signed Armenian-Turkish Protocols. We expect the same from Turkey. But if Turkey protracts ratification of the Protocols, then, Armenia will immediately take the opportunities based on the international law.”

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Parliamentary Assembly – Council of Europe – Respect for media freedom

Posted by Info on 29/01/2010

Recommendation 1897 (2010) – Assembly debate and text adopted on 27 January 2010

4. The Assembly deplores the fact that, since the adoption of Resolution 1535 (2007), the Russian Federation has failed to conclude a proper investigation and adjudication of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow on 7 October 2006 and to ensure that journalists can work freely and in safety. Thirteen more journalists have lost their lives in Russia since 2007: Ivan Safronov, Vyacheslav Ifanov, Ilyas Shurpayev, Gadji Abashilov, Sergey Protazanov, Magomed Yevloyev, Telman Alishayev, Shafig Amrakhov, Anastasia Baburova, Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, Natalia Estemirova, Abdulmalik Akhmedilov and Olga Kotovskaya.

6. Recalling its Resolution 1438 (2005) on freedom of the press and the working conditions of journalists in conflict zones, ..

11.4. call on the governments of all member states, and in particular those of Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Turkey, to revise their defamation and insult laws and their practical application in accordance with Assembly Resolution 1577 (2007);

11.5. call on the governments of all member states, and in particular of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine as well as Belarus, to ensure fair and equal access of all political parties and candidates to the media before elections and pay particular attention to this issue when assessing future elections;

11.6. call on the Government of the Russian Federation to ensure that the high number of murders of critical journalists are investigated and adjudicated;

11.7. call on the Government of Armenia to revise their legislation on the allocation of broadcasting licenses, which was passed as a countermeasure to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Meltex Ltd and Mesrop Movsesyan v. Armenia of 17 June 2008.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, EU, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine | 1 Comment »

Asylum Seekers In Switzerland In 2009

Posted by Info on 22/01/2010

The total of asylum seekers in Switzerland hit 16,005 in 2009, whereof only 2,622 were granted a status.

Russia reportedly topped the list of post-Soviet states, which citizens were willing to find shelter in Switzerland, with 45% of applications approved. Therewith, the Swiss government received 90 applications (with only 1 was approved) from Armenia, 19 from Azerbaijan (7 approved), 76 from Belarus, 29 from Ukraine, 15 from Kazakhstan, 15 from Uzbekistan, 1 from Turkmenistan and 3 from Kyrgyzstan.

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