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New violations of RA Constitution 

 

03 | 12 | 2008 | 20:00 | Statement

 

Armenian version

 

Statement

 

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned with the fact that even the minimal requirements to restore some democratic practices, outlined in the PACE resolutions 1609 and 1620 and acknowledged by the Armenian government as urgent, have not been implemented, and that instead new restrictions are being enforced by authorities.  We are especially concerned about the fundamental right of freedom of assembly enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights and in the Armenian Constitution.

 

During the months following the State of Emergency, Armenian civil society has repeatedly been denied the right to conduct meetings, discussions, film screenings, and round-tables on numerous important issues ranging from the human rights situation in the country to religious freedoms. It has become common practice for hotels, cinemas, and business centers to refuse rental of space to civil society organizations critical of the Armenian government and the current state of affairs.  The Armenia Marriott Hotel, Congress Hotel, Ani Plaza and other hotels, as well as the Moscow theater have repeatedly refused the rental of halls for civil society events, labeling them as “political.” 

 

Some hotels were very straightforward and said that they were instructed not to rent halls for any event that may be considered political and that they had to make calls to “respective people” to verify the ”political” nature of the event.  Some said orally that they were not allowed to rent halls for such purposes, but in their written responses provided other various excuses, such as technical problems or the non-availability of the halls.

 

This government pressure on businesses not to rent out halls is exercised completely outside any legal context; there is no law regulating hall renting practices by private companies. These undemocratic practices pose a new and serious blow to democracy.

 

Below are only some of the examples of the legitimate organizations and activities that were refused rental agreements:

 

Ø      In September Congress Hotel refused hosting the Fund against Violation of Law event on the issue of Sayat-Nova school teachers’ dismissal (labor rights protection case).  The verbally given explanation was that it was of political nature. 

 

Ø      Congress Hotel, first confirmed and then refused hosting the October 09 the Partnership event to discuss the main concerns with the processes in the country (recently adopted amendments to the broadcast law, violations of freedom of media/access to media, freedom of assembly and association, widespread corruption and the abuse of power, the CoE Human Rights Commissioner’s report and the country’s implementation of PACE resolutions 1609 and 1620).  The verbally given explanation was that they cannot host “political” events and that OSI would get refusal from all other hotels. In parallel, the Foundation sent the same request to Armenia Marriott Hotel.  The latter had to find out from “decision-makers” whether they could allow hosting it. 

 

Ø      Moscow theatre first agreed but then refused hosting viewing of the film “Alienation,” produced by Tigran Paskevichyan and ordered by “The Victims of State Needs” NGO, even though per the initial agreement the funds had already been transferred.  The official verbal response was that they cannot allow viewing of films of ‘political nature.’  The reason for considering it ‘political’ was that Levon Ter-Petrosyan was seen in one of the episodes of the film.  Later, both Marriott and Congress hotels rejected hosting the viewing of the film.  The event was originally planned to be held on October 10, but due to the change of the venue, it was rescheduled to be held on October 27 at the Tekeyan Cultural Center.

 

Ø      The Helsinki Committee of Armenia had to struggle to rent hotel space for its presentation on “Violence in schools.”

 

Ø      Ani and Congress hotels refused hosting a seminar on Religious Tolerance organized Collaboration for Democracy NGO. Erebuni Hotel first confirmed and then refused hosting the event.  The official explanation was that there were no available halls, which was not true as we found out. 

 

We find this situation deeply disturbing and unacceptable for a country engaged in the European Neighbourhood Policy and that claims to be committed to democratic values and principles. We call on the Armenian government to stop this abuse of power which goes against all norms of democracy and free economic system.    We also call upon all businesses to not yield to government pressure that denies Armenia’s citizens of their fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

 

These abuses of the rights provided in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, which are rights the Armenian people gave themselves, must be stopped now.

  

Signatories

 

 Arena of Education NGO

“Asparez” Journalists’ Club

Civil Society Institute

Collaboration for Democracy

Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Branch

“Internews-Armenia” Media Support NGO

Media Diversity Institute

Menq Plus NGO

Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia

Transparency International Anti-corruption Center

Yerevan Press Club 


www.asparez.am կայքի արխիվը
2008
հունվար փետրվար մարտ ապրիլ մայիս հունիս
հուլիս օգոստոս սեպտեմբեր հոկտեմբեր նոյեմբեր դեկտեմբեր
 
2007 1 հունվարի-3 հոկտեմբերի
2007 3 հոկտ-31 դեկտեմբերի
2006 թվական
2005 թվական
2004 թվական

Հայաստանյան հեռախոսային կոդերը եւ զանգելու կարգը pdf ֆորմատով


 

Ինտերնետային կայքի հետ կապված բոլոր առաջարկություններով կապվեք levon@asparez.am  հասցեով:

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