Certain Citizens May Be Left Without Passports

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In an effort to exchange old Soviet passports for new Armenian naturalization documen’s–it is necessary for citizens to possess the so-called propiska–proof of permanent residence.

In accordance to this–relevant governmental entities are denying new passports to some categories of citizens–who for one reason or another have lost their right to permanent residence. Not having permanent residence also creates problems in the civic area of life–where non-resident individuals are precluded from buying or selling homes–as well as other civil rights.

According to Levon Nersissian–the director of the Armenian Sakharov Fund for Human Rights Protection and Charity–the propiska introduced in Soviet times was recognized as non-democratic and not corresponding to international human rights standards. Nersissian particularly noted that the necessity to have the propiska violates the right to work–Article 23 of the General Human Rights Declaration–the right to travel under the passport-visa regulations Article 13–social security Article 25,

Armenia has agreed to this declaration.

Commenting on the situation–Alvina Zakarian–the chief of the passport-visa department of Armenia’s Interior and National Security Ministry–said that Armenian citizenship is acknowledged not only through the availability of a passport–but also through some other papers–such as a birth certificate.

As for civil rights restrictions caused by the absence of propiska and–as a result–of a new passport–Zakarian admitted to the fact and said that the mechanism of issuing new passports to citizens without permanent propiska is currently being developed. In particular–according to her–the new regulations will lift certain restrictions.

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