On 11 December 2017 the Council of Europe (CoE) Office in Yerevan organised a round table discussion on the occasion of the Human Rights Day.
The round table was attended by representatives of different departments and services of the Ministry of Defence of Armenia, in particular of its Human Rights and Integrity Building Centre (HRIBC), General Staff, Military Police and higher military educational institutions. Participants from Human Rights Defender’s Office, Military Prosecutor’s Office, Investigative Committee, National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence and Security as well as local CoE experts were also present at the event.
In her welcome remark, Ms Natalia Voutova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan reminded that in accordance with the principle of “citizens in uniform” promoted by many countries and international organisations, members of the armed forces are entitled to all the rights and freedoms as other citizens. She highlighted that as the MoD is a new counterpart for the CoE, the Armenian Government’s initiative of co-operation in this specific area was particularly commendable. Emphasising that the Project coincided in time with a large-scale reform of the military legislation of Armenia, Ms Voutova reaffirmed the commitment of the CoE to further support the national authorities in strengthening human rights guarantees in the defence sector.
Head of the Human Rights and Integrity Building Centre of the MoD, colonel Aleksandr Avetisyan delivered the welcoming remarks on behalf of the Minister of Defence of Armenia, Mr Vigen Sargsyan, underlining that the Project played an important role in supporting the Armenian Government’s efforts to enhance the civilian and democratic control over the armed forces, and thus increasing the protection of human rights.
The discussions at the event concerned strengthening human rights guarantees in various areas of military sphere, especially during the call up process, and the civil rights of members of the armed forces. The second part of the round table was dedicated to the issues and needs of human rights education and training of military servicepersons and legal professionals working in that sphere.
The event was organised within the scope of the project “Strengthening the application of European human rights standards in the armed forces in Armenia”, funded by UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.