Civil Society Support in Armenia
Armenia is a small Caucasus country that tends to be forgotten between the blatant human rights offender Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in the East, and the unsecure and unstable Georgia to the North. However, human rights are violated also in Armenia, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has supported the work of civil society in Armenia for many years in order to address central issues. One of the most central actors in the human rights environment in Yerevan is the Armenian Helsinki Association and Mikael Danielyan.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is cooperating with several organizations that are mainly focusing on the situation in closed institutions in Armenia. From these, the Armenian Helsinki Committee is centering their attention on prisons and psychiatric institutions. In May 2010, the AHC was granted permission by the Ministry of Justice to visit all prison institutions in Armenia, also outside of the official inspections of the Public Commission, which only can visit detention facilities. The organization also monitors several court trials, represents victims of violations like torture in court, and offers legal advice to people who are victims to human rights violations in Armenia’s poor regions.
One of the largest contributions of the organization is the detailed annual Report on the Human Rights situation in the Republic of Armenia. The English version for 2010 is now available in two volumes: Volume 1 addresses human rights violations in general, Volume 2 addresses the situation in closed institutions.