Armenia — Arbitrary arrest of human rights defenders

ProtectDefenders.eu partners are raising their voices to urge the Armenian authorities to put an end to police brutality and to guarantee the right to protest, after recent incidents reported in the country in relation related to the blockade that has been held for the past two years by environmental activists against the construction of a gold mine in Amulsar. According to the information received, on 10 August, nine environmental activists, including women’s rights defender Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, were arrested during a peaceful gathering in front of the Parliament in Yerevan for “not obeying police orders”. Previously, in the afternoon of 6 August, about a dozen of people, including Nina Karapetyants and Ara Karagyozyan, who were participating in a peaceful picket in Yerevan in support of the protests in Amulsar, were arrested by the police. They were all released after administrative proceedings.

According to the information received, on 10 August, nine environmental activists, including women’s rights defender Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, were arrested during a peaceful gathering in front of the Parliament in Yerevan for “not obeying police orders”. Previously, in the afternoon of 6 August, about a dozen of people, including Nina Karapetyants and Ara Karagyozyan, who were participating in a peaceful picket in Yerevan in support of the protests in Amulsar, were arrested by the police. They were all released after administrative proceedings.

On the same day in the evening, another protest by a group of environmental supporters took place in Yerevan. The police detained around 20 environmental activists who were peacefully demonstrating on bicycles, as well as Levon Galstyan who was filming the arrests. They were released within three hours after administrative proceedings were conducted over accusations of “not obeying police orders”. The day before, Armenian police forces cracked down on the local population and environmental activists opposed to the construction of the gold mine, leading to the arbitrary arrest of many protesters, including Ani Khachatryan. The activists were placed under administrative arrest and charged with “not obeying police orders”. They were released within three hours.

According to RSF,  media diversity has blossomed in Armenia but the government that emerged from the “velvet revolution” in the spring of 2018 has failed to reduce the media’s polarization. The editorial policies of the main TV channels coincide with the interests of their owners. Journalistic independence and transparent media ownership are still far from being achieved.