2022 in Armenia was full of various events and challenges, resulting in a sharp increase in problems related to the protection of human rights. In this regard, Human Rights Watch has studied the events in Armenia in 2022 and published its report on the human rights situation in Armenia.
The report touched on several issues that remain topical in Armenia. These problems are mainly related to the political tension reigning in the country as a result of the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Consequently, cases of human rights violations were recorded. Those cases included ill-treatment of prisoners in custody by law enforcement bodies, interference with freedom of assembly, domestic violence, discrimination against people with disabilities, and violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
In this situation, the constant tension on the Armenia-Azerbaijani border was inevitable. Azerbaijani troops invaded the territory of RA and Nagorno-Karabakh several times, due to which civilians were displaced and killed, overall, the invasions disrupted citizens’ security, and the issue of captured Armenian soldiers is still hanging in the air.
According to the report, ill-treatment and torture in custody continue and go unpunished. Activists’ right to freedom of speech and assembly was also violated when they protested against the war in Ukraine. Children with disabilities continue to live in orphanages. They do not receive education because the state does not fulfill its international obligation to educate children with disabilities. Violence and femicide by men against women and children continue to go unpunished as well.
The report also includes an overview of cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Armenia. The problem is that the RA Criminal Code does not recognize hate due to sexual orientation or gender identity as an aggravating circumstance in hate crimes.
In this respect, Human Rights Watch referred to the European Court of Human Rights verdict in the case of Oganezova v. Armenia. According to the verdict, Armenian authorities violated the prohibition against torture and anti-discrimination and failed to discharge their positive obligation to effectively investigate the arson attack.
LGBT people continue to be discriminated against in Armenia. Still, many do not report the crimes committed against them, as cases of discrimination based on SOGI are usually dismissed, and the victims are further targeted.
Armenia lacks comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. As a result, the number of hate crimes increases because criminals are not adequately punished for the crimes committed.