On April 5th, a public hearing on the “National Human Rights agenda: UN Universal Periodic Review” was held in the National Assembly of Armenia with the participation of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia and civil society organizations, representatives of public authorities, media, diplomatic missions and international organizations.
The event, the first of its kind to be held in Armenia, hosted a public discussion devoted to the role of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism in light of its safeguards and guarantees for human rights and was organized in preparation for Armenia’s 3rd cycle of Review in 2020. It also focused on the crucial role that key public institutions, including the Parliament and the Human Rights Defender Office, play in implementing international commitments into national policies and laws, as well as oversight functions. The discussions were based on the Resolution 35/29, adopted on 2017 by the UN Human Rights Council, which addresses the “Contribution of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review”.
The first panel was essentially dedicated to discussing the challenges and opportunities brought by the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, with presentations addressing the role of national human rights institutions regarding UPR recommendations, the current state of Armenia in regard to the last review cycle and the involvement of NGOs on the reviewing process. Also, during panel sessions, the following human rights themes were discussed: (1) Justice reforms and fair trial, (2) Advancing protection of rights of persons with disabilities and non-discrimination, (3) Child’s rights in social care homes and orphanages.
The discussions served as a unique platform for national and international partners to discuss UPR recommendations and other international commitments undertaken by Armenia from the human rights-based approach, as well as the Government national report and other alternative reports to be submitted by additional parties within 2019.
The public hearing was convened by the Human Rights Defender of Armenia in cooperation with the Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs of the National Assembly of Armenia, and the United Nations Office.
The local civil society organizations also participated in the discussions. Their participation was valuable to the success of the event. In order to contribute, NGOs were offered the opportunity of speaking during the hearing, with every present organization being able to register in order to speak before the participants of the discussions. This provided an opportunity for the civil society members to be heard and to present their issues to the persons and institutions involved in the human rights promotion and the periodical review in Armenia.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs of the National Assembly of Armenia, Ms. Naira Zohrabyan, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia Mr. Arman Tatoyan, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Mr. Artak Apitonyan, the Head of the EU delegation to Armenia, Ambassador H.E. Piotr Switalski and the UN Resident Coordinator for Armenia, Mr. Shombi Sharp made opening speeches for the event.
Source: Office of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia