The “Coalition for Trust”, a three-year regional project funded by the European Commission and co-funded by the Norwegian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, started in late 2012 and works in all entities of the South Caucasus to restore confidence and
build people-to-people contact by opening up new perspectives on conflict transformation. The initiative is implemented on
the ground by local partner and associate organisations in the regions. NHC is working with the partners to develop and deliver
a broad-ranging educational programme for close to 300 students, journalists and civic activists.
These groups will participate in more than 50 seminars overall, covering topics such as human rights as an element of conflict
transformation; cross-cultural tolerance and dialogue; and transitional justice measures. In addition to locally-held seminars,
the project will also develop a series of “webinars”, lectures that are streamed online and allow for live Q&A sessions as
well as “on-demand” download.
The project’s educational component is accompanied by the establishment of a South Caucasus-wide network – the “Coalition
for Trust” – with the aim of drafting a “Strategy of Trust” to encourage and assist efforts at reconciliation within and across
divided societies. The “Coalition for Trust” will bring together human rights defenders and civil society activities, media
professionals and young people and provide them with a forum to work together toward building sustainable peace, both within
their societies and across conflict divides. Coalition activities will include joint meetings and conferences as well as field
visits outside the South Caucasus region to study and share good practices and lessons learnt from post-conflict reconciliation
and peace-building efforts in the Western Balkans.
The educational and network-building activities of the project will be supported by a wide range of public education, engagement,
and advocacy activities. These will include public dialogues in the participating regions, the collection of materials on
peace-building and reconciliation, as well as advocacy events at local and international level, targeting stakeholders within
government, civil society (including faith-based congregations), and the international community.
NHC responsible for the project is Enver Djuliman, Head of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local project co-ordinator is Marion Kipiani,
Regional Program Coordinator of the "Coalition for Trust" in South Caucasus, Tbilisi, Georgia
Den norske Helsingforskomité har vært engasjert i situasjonen i Armenia siden slutten av 1990-tallet. Vi overvåker utviklingen
for menneskerettighetene og har observert flere valg. Valgene i Armenia de siste årene har hatt store mangler og myndighetene
stoppet demonstrasjoner etter presidentvalget i 2008 med voldelige midler. Vi har også vært særlig opptatt av forholdene i
armenske fengsler og psykiatriske institusjoner.
One year after the bombing of the DIY pub and violent counter demonstrators attacked a Diversity March in Yerevan, Armenia
still suffers from widespread intolerance and discrimination of minorities. The legislation does not include hate crime with
intent towards gender and sexual minorities, and the government fails to protect the rights of these citizens. Media is more
often used as a tool to build up under prejudice and intolerance, and homophobic statements are frequently used by stakeholders
to gain popularity.
Together with the Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee have submitted a mid-term assessment (May 2010–December 2012) following recommendations by the United Nations Human
Rights Council at Armenia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010.
Election Day in Armenia was characterized by reports of ballot stuffing, multiple voting and intimidation of voters, following
a campaign where the three main opposition parties decided not to nominate their presidential candidates. This is the conclusion
of a delegation from the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), consisting of four experts of the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee, Swedish International Liberal Centre SILC, Sweden, Association GOLOS, Russia and European Exchange, Germany to
the Presidential elections on 18 February in Armenia.
-Though there were several reports about fraud before and during Election Day, social media showed that many Armenians took
this opportunity to state their opinion, says NHC’s Lene Wetteland, who was present in Armenia for the elections. - Many demonstrated
contempt by voting for American celebrity Kim Kardashian; one ate his ballot, another returned the 5000 AMD bribe with a note
that not everyone can be bought, and surprisingly many voted for the runner-up Raffi Hovhannisyan, who is now arranging rallies
in towns all over Armenia.
Voting at the 2013 Presidential elections in Armenia is underway, following a month of low key campaigning. The ruling Republican
party’s candidate and incumbent president Serge Sargsyan is expected to win the majority of the votes in an election where
the three largest opposition parties in the Parliament did not advance or support any candidate. NHC's Lene Wetteland is observing
the elections in Vanadzor.
NHC together with partner organisations Civil Society Institute and The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) call
upon Armenian authorities to eliminate violations in the administration of justice and ensure the establishment of an independent
judiciary and the rule of law. These steps are fundamental to the further democratic development of Armenia, and should be
a prerequisite for any further engagement with the EU.
We are currently seeking a highly qualified person to be the regional coordinator of the (EU-funded) program “Coalition for
trust” in the South Caucasus. The aim of the program is to contribute to building knowledge and trust between people in a
region marked by conflict and human rights violations. Activities include education and training, network building, advocacy
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee participated in a picket in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo Monday, passing on a statement
to Counsellor Vitalii Pantus. The statement comes as a reaction to the recent violent attacks on a peaceful demonstration
organized by Ukrainian LGBTI organizations, where several activists were victims of violence. – We are concerned with the
development in many European countries. It seems to be a trend of violent intolerance that is unacceptable in countries that
are aspiring at rapprochement to Europe, hosting European Championships in Football, Olympic Games or applying for EU membership,
says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
On 16 April 2012, the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly Vanadzor, a partner organization of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, was
subject to harassment by a large crowd on the eve of a movie screening. Police authorities did not protect the human rights
defenders, and damage was made to the premises of the organization. Now, several international and regional organisations
have sent a letter to the Armenian authorities, urging proper investigation of the events and protection of human rights defenders
Parliamentary elections on Sunday 6 May was the country’s first elections since the disputed 2008 Presidential elections that
led to strong protests and eight persons being killed by security forces. – There were a few improvements from previous elections,
but abuse of administrative resources and pressure on voters remained a serious problem, says Lene Wetteland, Advisor who
observed Sunday’s election. – Authorities had promised that elections would be conducted according to international standards.
But if you are told that your job depends on supporting the President’s party, you stop believing in such promises, she continues.
Presidential elections of 19 February 2008 and the subsequent unrest of 1 March, where 10 people lost their lives, and more
than hundred were arrested or injured. In the campaign leading up to the elections, President Sargsyan has on several occasions
stated the importance of free and fair elections. - It is of utmost importance that these promises are followed up by action,
says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Norwegian Helsinki Committee's Lene Wetteland
is in Armenia during the elections.
(14/03-2008) Helsingforskomiteens rapport fra det armenske presidentvalget 19. februar er nå tilgjengelig. Helsingforskomiteen
oppfordrer armenske myndigheter til å sette i gang en dialog mellom opposisjonen og majoriteten i landet. Bare gjennom en
slik dialog kan valgrutinene forbedres, og folkets tillit til offentlige myndigheter gjenopprettes. Dette er én av Helsingforskomiteens
anbefalinger etter tilstedeværelse i flere uker før, under og etter valget.
(15/02-2008) Organisasjonen for Sikkerhet og Samarbeid i Europa kallar den armenske valadministrasjonen ”well-prepared”. Men
rapporten frå i går skildrar fleire hendingar som ikkje er i samsvar med internasjonale plikter.
(24/04-2006) Fengselseksperten Lisbeth Sollie dro til Armenia i 2005 for å kartlegge forholdene i seks ulike fengsler på oppdrag
det norske Justisdepartementet gjennom Helsingforskomiteens fengselsprosjekt.