Armenia Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Among Armenia’s top human rights concerns are freedom of expression and violence against women. Armenia has failed to meet its commitments on conscientious objectors to compulsory military service, especially for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who continue to be imprisoned. Armenia is yet to adopt comprehensive legislation to combat violence against women, a pledge it made in 2008.

There has been recent violence against LGBTI communities, such as the 2012 firebombing of a gay-friendly bar in Yerevan, and a short-lived attempt by the central police to criminalize ‘non-traditional sexual propaganda.’

Local activists have alarmed about epidemic mining-related health issues. Communities complain that they are not consulted about mining development that is going to affect their health. Subsequent protests become more delicate, however, as new mines often become the sole option for employment.

Human rights violations have been prevalent at every national election in Armenia except 1991. Ten people were killed in the 2008 post-election protests. The February 2013 presidential election registered dozens of reported irregularities, including violence against observers by local officials.

Armenia and its neighbor Azerbaijan are deadlocked in the peace process over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh after a deadly post-Soviet war in the early 1990s that killed 30,000 people and left almost one million displaced. Both countries deny responsibility in the mutual massacres and pogroms, including the killings of Azerbaijani civilians during the Armenian takeover of Khojaly (Xocalı) in 1992. State-sponsored human rights violations have continued beyond the 1994 ceasefire, such as the Azerbaijani army’s deliberate eradication of the remote medieval Armenian cemetery Djulfa (Culfa, historically Jugha) in late 2005.