UN Committee Gives Positive Assessment to Armenia’s Human Rights

GENEVA–During a recent session of the United National Human Rights Committee. six countries submitted their reports and sent government delegations to appear before the committee to answer questions in keeping with their obligations as States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was adopted in 1966 by the General Assembly. Armenia was among the countries which participated in this meeting.

In its recommendations on the report on Armenia–the UN committee recommended that the state party amend its Constitution so as to enable individuals to raise question concerning human rights guaranteed in the Constitution; that it consider ratification of the Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of the death penalty; that it establish of a special independent body to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law-enforcement personnel; and that it observe the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

With regard to Armenia– positive aspects were noted in the report–including the current process being undertaken to bring its legislation fully in harmony with its international obligations; the establishment of the Commission on Human Rights as an advisory body to the President of the Republic; the expressed attention to abolish the death penalty by January 1–1999–which would automatically affect all persons currently on death row; and the release of prisoners in Armenia following the last presidential elections

Concern was expressed–among other things–over the incompatibility of several provisions of the Constitution with the Covenant–for example the provision which guaranteed the freedom of movement only to citizens of Armenia; over the independence of the judiciary–which was not fully guaranteed; over the grounds for pre-trial detention–which were not exhaustively listed in the present law; over allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law-enforcement officials; over poor conditions prevailing in prisons; over the discrimination against women in public and private employment and their under-representation in the conduct of public affairs; over the existence of the phenomenon of street children in Armenia; and over the strict governmental control over electronic media.

The Committee recommended–among other things–that Armenia amend its Constitution as to enable individuals to raise questions concerning human rights guaranteed in the Constitution; that it consider ratification of the Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of death penalty; that it establish a special independent body to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment by law-enforcement personnel; that it observe the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; that specific protection and punitive measures be taken with respect to all forms of violence against women–including rape; and that measures be taken to ensure that small national minorities had access to educational facilities in their language of origin.

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