In a letter to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, requests information with regards to the ongoing criminal proceedings against human rights defender Sashik Sultanyan, Head of the Yezidi Center for Human Rights.
She seeks clarification on the links between the charges brought against Mr Sultanyan and his human rights work. In light of the serious concerns expressed by international and national human rights actors about his prosecution, she reiterates the Armenian authorities’ obligations to ensure a safe environment conducive to the work of human rights defenders.
Importantly, she notes that “this includes guaranteeing human rights defenders’ freedom of expression, as protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, when they raise human rights concerns”. In that context, she underlines that this obligation is all the more important when such legitimate speech addresses the treatment of minorities and is aimed at protecting and promoting their rights.