Head of government Tigran Sargsian
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 3.1 million
Life expectancy 73.6 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 29/25 per 1,000
Adult literacy 99.5 per cent
Impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations persisted. Freedom of expression was restricted and journalists were attacked. The ban on holding demonstrations in the centre of the capital, Yerevan, which had been introduced in March 2008 during the state of emergency, remained in place. Protection of women and girls against violence fell short of international standards. The government failed to provide a genuine alternative to military service.
On 19 June, the National Assembly granted an amnesty for opposition activists imprisoned in relation to the events in Yerevan, in March 2008. The amnesty covered those who had not been charged with violent crimes and had been sentenced to prison terms of less than five years. Those who did not fall under the amnesty had their sentences halved. On 1 and 2 March 2008, violent demonstrations had taken place in Yerevan to protest against the presidential election results of 19 February, in which opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian lost to incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan.
Some progress was made in Azerbaijan-Armenian talks over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan that broke away following the 1990 war. On 2 November, following talks in Moscow, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a joint agreement aimed at resolving the dispute on the basis of international law.
Violence against women and girls
In its concluding observations published in February, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed concern about the lack of legislation referring to domestic violence and the absence of a responsible state institution. The Committee called on the authorities "to enact, without delay, legislation specifically addressing domestic violence against women", and to provide sufficient shelters.
A draft law on domestic violence was under discussion by the authorities, but had not been presented to parliament by the end of the year. During 2009, only one shelter for victims of domestic violence, run by the Women's Rights Centre, was operational.
In October, four police officers were charged with using force against members of the public during the demonstrations on 1 March 2008. By the end of the year, no independent inquiry had been conducted into allegations of use of force by police during the March 2008 events. In June 2008, an ad hoc parliamentary commission had been established to investigate the events, but did not function because the opposition refused to participate. A separate fact finding group made up of representatives from diverse political factions and the Ombudsperson was disbanded by presidential decree in June 2009, before it became operational.