On 13 December 2022 Closing Event and the Final Steering Committee meeting of the Council of Europe project “Human Rights and Women in the Armed Forces in Armenia-Phase II” (‘’Project’’) concluded more than 2,5 years of successful cooperation with the Armenian state authorities working in the field of defence.
The main aim of the Project was to ensure better protection of human rights in the armed forces, in particular rights of women servicepersons, as well as the effectiveness of the legal proceedings in military cases by providing legal drafting and capacity building support for the implementation of the 2020-2022 National Strategy for Human Rights Protection. The specific objective of the Project was to enhance the engagement of women in the armed forces in accordance with Council’s standards and recommendations.
The Project was officially launched in June 2020. For 31 months of its implementation, the Project contributed to important changes of institutional framework and practice and directly contributed to the implementation of a number of actions of the National Human Rights Protection Strategy and respective Action Plan for 2020-2022. The results achieved during the implementation of the Project among others include developing HELP online model course Human Rights in the Armed Forces, introduction of Human Rights Course into the curricula of the Military University and opening a Human Rights Lecture Room, introduction of the Sub-Module on Effective Investigation of Death and Ill treatment Cases in the Armed Forces in Armenia into the curricula of the Justice Academy, strengthening of capacities of Women Councils of Military Units, enhancing the capacities of the Human Rights Defence’s Office on monitoring of human rights in the armed forces, enhanced capacities of military servicepersons and legal professionals in the field of human rights protection in the armed forces.
Summarising main achievements and objectives met by the Project, Mr Arman Sargsyan Deputy Minister of Defence expressed his satisfaction and gratitude for all results achieved within the framework of the Project in partnership with the Armenian state authorities. “We consider the Project to be a mark of success of good and reliable cooperation”, underlined Mr Sargsyan. Ms Leila Zhdanova, Deputy Head of Council of Europe office in Yerevan stated that “the work done in the past years has led to a broader foundation for better embedding the European human rights standards in the armed forces and enhancing the promotion of the rights of women military servicepersons in line with the Program of the Government of Armenia for 2021-2026”.
Referring to the impact of the Project, Mr Tigran Karapetyan, Head of the Transversal Challenges and Multilateral Projects Division of the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe underlined that the Project “produced very good results because of everyone’s professionalism and dedication. The Project created a very important platform for the capacity building of the national partners, to bring together civil society organisations, representatives of different government agencies”.
Following the consultations, positive assessment of the Project results and of the joint work expressed by the Ministry of Defence of Armenia, necessary future actions were also presented.
The cooperation between the Council of Europe and Armenia will continue within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2023-2026.