The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

Armenia: Ombudsman refuses to take part in FIDH forum
Armen Arutyunyan, Ombudsman of Armenia, stood against the offered format of his participation in the forum of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) to be held in Yerevan on April 6-8. He sent a letter to the organizers asking to exclude him from the list of participants, as "he would not be given a chance to express his viewpoint alternative to the authorities' one."

Mr Arutyunyan could not understand why the organizers failed to put him as speaker on the agenda. According to his version, he was granted a chance to present on the second day of the forum, "and only during debates in one of the sections."
"The FIDH is a serious and authoritative organization, and not every time it actions are held in Yerevan. I think that the Ombudsman of Armenia - the country, where the forum is held, should be given a chance to speak out, namely - to present his conceptual viewpoint. Meanwhile, the format, offered to me, provides no opportunity of this sort," the Ombudsman told journalists.

Earlier, the refusal to take part in the forum was expressed by the Vanadzor Branch of the Helsinki Civil Assembly, Centre in Defence of Law and Freedom. Their activists express bewilderment that Armenian human rights defenders were not included into the list of main reporters, whereas this opportunity was granted to four high-ranking bureaucrats.

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