21 Jun 2024

ENNHRI speaks out in support of the Armenian NHRI following threats and attacks

Due to its work on the protection and promotion of human rights, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia (Armenian NHRI) has faced threats and attacks by political actors. Considering these concerning developments, ENNHRI has issued a statement in support of the institution.

The Human Rights Defender herself and the institution’s staff have been subject to multiple attacks. This has included verbal harassment, hate speech on gender and ethnic grounds, and attempts to block citizens’ engagement with and the reporting to the institution.

Notably, the Armenian NHRI is targeted due to its work protecting the human rights of individuals in vulnerable situations, such as persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Such undue interference damages the NHRI’s enabling environment and ability to exercise its full mandate to protect and promote human rights. It also raises major safety concerns for the leadership and staff of the institution. Furthermore, it impacts negatively on public trust in and engagement with the NHRI

The Defender’s work on disability, LGBTQ+ rights, as well as freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, is carried out in line with international human rights obligations and standards. As required by regional and international standards on NHRIs, the Armenian Constitution prohibits any interference with the activities of the Defender. It also outlines that obstructing the exercise of the power of the Defender, as well as threats to the Defender, shall entail liability.

The Human Rights Defender of Armenia is widely recognised as a key actor for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Armenia. Therefore, ENNHRI urges Armenian state authorities to uphold international and regional standards by ensuring the institution is protected from undue interference and threats hindering its work.

This implies creating and maintaining an enabling space for the institution, ensuring the NHRI can engage in critical analysis and commentary on all human rights issues, and promoting public confidence in the institution. Furthermore, ENNHRI calls on state authorities to take the necessary steps to safeguard the independence and safety of the NHRI’s senior leadership.

ENNHRI stands ready to support, assist and advise all relevant authorities to fulfil their international and regional obligations to ensure an enabling environment for the Armenian NHRI.

Read and download the full statement here.

Learn more about ENNHRI’s work supporting NHRIs under threat.