Armenian President Cancels Address At Human Rights Conference

YEREVAN–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has canceled a keynote address he was to deliver at a conference by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Yerevan, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

The two-day FIDH conference — which began on April 6 — brings together more than 300 human rights campaigners from 140 countries, including prominent Iranian rights activist and Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Armenian Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian and Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian are scheduled to speak at the conference.

Some Armenian human rights groups who were invited to participate in the event have threatened to boycott it because they said the FIDH is reluctant to discuss the fallout from the controversial February 2008 presidential election and subsequent deadly street clashes in Yerevan.

FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen honored on April 5 the eight demonstrators killed in the unrest. She assured the victims’ relatives that the Paris-based group will strive to have the “criminals” responsible for their deaths brought to justice.

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