The UN Human Rights Committee has recently adopted conclusions on Armenia expressing concerns over violation of human rights in different areas, as well as the failure to disclose March 1. Lragir.am had an interview with the head of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office Artur Sakunts
Mr. Sakunts, the UN Committee conclusions give time to the Armenian government to eliminate the breaches and to come up with proposals. Do such assessments by the international organizations make the Armenian authorities alert?
It they didn’t, the Armenian authorities would not try to work out some projects. They understand the need for change but the issue is whether there are necessary conditions for the implementation of changes. In this sense the government is in a deadlock. It realizes the situation but can’t do anything since it does not stem from the interests of the oligarchs. For example, the case with Nemets Rubo [Ruben Hayrapetyan]. How can we understand whether they want changes or not? They speak about 15 people but only 6 are detained. Do they carry out a proper investigation to disclose this incident? All these questions prove nothing is done well. Unfortunately, in terms of human rights protection there are no favorable conditions in Armenia to change the situation.
The only favorable factor is the fight and disagreement of a part of the society. Some officers in public administration bodies know the situation very well but they have no influence on the decision-making process. The political leadership understands everything but it has no wish to make changes. The ongoing events make it clear that the system must undergo radical changes for which will is required.
The current authorities cling to their chairs and have no intention to leave, so can we deduce radical changes are far off, and we will have the same situation for the next couple of years?
I don’t think the authorities will have the necessary resources. They will have to count on emigration for the dissatisfied mass to leave the country but this is very dangerous. For me, no steps aimed at improving the human rights situation in Armenia is a crime against their own country. The idleness of the principle of supremacy of law destroys the government and people’s trust in it. If people’s confidence is attacked, the state will collapse. All the concerns voiced by the Torture Committee, Human Rights Committee, PACE resolutions on the democratic institutions of Armenia show it is time for change. The international community can see the potential for change in Armenia.
The UN Committee conclusions on Armenia dwell on March 1. The international community focuses on these events from time to time. Can this factor boost practical steps aimed at the revelation of the events?
The mentioning of March 1 was an alerting step. The UN Human Rights Committee dedicated two points to this issue which means the international community has not forgotten March 1 events. All the propaganda measures applied in the country to alleviate the sharpness of the issue are not consistent with the assessment of the international community. All the attempts to ignore this issue to let time heal the wounds are useless because this is a serious obstacle to the development of the country. The international community will not accept this. This government was born by March 1. I don’t believe in miracles, but it would be real patriotism if Serzh Sargsyan says one day the whole truth on March 1. And if he supports the revelation, I will vote for him. If Serzh Sargsyan really loves Armenia, if he is courageous enough and if he wants Armenia to be a dignified state, let him tell the whole truth.