A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Armenia from 6 to 10 September 2021 as part of the third evaluation round of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The focus of this evaluation round of the Convention is on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. Prior to the visit, the Armenian authorities provided a reply to GRETA’s questionnaire for the third evaluation round. In addition to the new thematic focus, GRETA verified how the main recommendations made in its second evaluation report have been implemented.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation held consultations with Mr Mher Grigoryan, Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Tatevik Stepanyan and Mr Suren Sargsyan, Deputy Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr Armen Ghazaryan, Head of the Migration Service, as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Health and Labour Inspectorate, and the National Security Service. The GRETA delegation also met Mr Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia, and members of the National Assembly.
Furthermore, the GRETA delegation held meetings with representatives of the Police, the Investigative Committee, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Court Department. In addition, the delegation travelled to Vanadzor where it met representatives of relevant regional and local authorities and law enforcement agencies.
The GRETA delegation held separate meetings with representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), independent anti-trafficking experts, lawyers and victims of human trafficking.
Discussions were also held with representatives of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Armenia, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
In the course of the visit, the GRETA delegation visited a specialised shelter for victims of human trafficking in Yerevan, run by the NGO “Democracy Today”, and the Child and Family Support Centre of Lori Region in Vanadzor.
The visit was carried out by Ms Antoaneta Vassileva, First Vice-President of GRETA, and Ms Ia Dadunashvili, member of GRETA, who were accompanied by Mr Roemer Lemaître of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report, which will be sent to the Armenian authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report to be published in mid-2022.