On the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance, on November 16 “Public Information and Need of Knowledge” NGO organized a discussion which aimed to undertake, elaborate and advocate for anti-discrimination legislation in the Republic of Armenia.
“It is undeniable that anyone should have the real opportunity to protect their rights legally in case of discrimination against themselves. Armenia has joined and/or ratified all the main international tools to eradicate discrimination. Nevertheless, the problem of discrimination has never been discussed consistently, and there are no effective legal mechanisms to prevent and punish discrimination against individuals. It is important to shape operational mechanisms in this context to prevent discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia, as well as to respond appropriately to such manifestations”, mentioned the head of the organization, Mamikon Hovsepyan.
The lawyer of the organization Lusine Ghazaryan has grounded the need of having anti-discrimination legislation within spaces of the operating laws in Armenia, as well as by the international conventions and recommendations that have been signed and/or ratified.
The defender of handicaps and minorities of the staff, Human Rights Defender Office (HRD) of RA, Tatevik Khachatryan, and the temporary functionary of the chief of legal analysis department, Aram Vardevanyan, stated that there has already been a preliminary version of the anti-discrimination law elaborated by the office of HRD. They also informed participants of the discussion about the stance of the office of HRD regarding the necessity and importance of this legislation.
Representatives of human rights organizations have expressed their concerns about the fact that the elaboration of the project of anti-discrimination law did not take place in a transparent manner and without public participation. Organizations present at the meeting mentioned that they have been operating in the sphere of human rights protection and have been struggling against various types of manifestations against discrimination for years, but they were not given the chance to implement their experience and knowledge in the area linked to discrimination during the undertaking and cultivation of the project of this legislation.
Close to the end of the meeting the present organizations stated once more the need of being directly and actively involved in the further stages of the elaboration of that legislation, for which there was a requirement set before the HRD office to ensure the transparency and publicity of their activity. They have also urged NGOs to unify their efforts in having as inclusive anti-discrimination legislation as possible and to carry out its advocacy.
A representative of “Real World, Real People” NGO, Hovhannes Madoyan, mentioned that the organizations of civil society will jointly take part in the process of the elaboration of the project with the HRD office to ensure the availability of an inclusive legislative project in this sphere. He also added that if the transparency of the process of cultivating this project is not secured, and if public participation and comprehensiveness are not ensured, then the organizations within civil society will have to begin their own projects elaborated by themselves.
The crew of HRD has scheduled the next discussion to take place on November 23, at 11:00, at the HRD office.