Newly appointed RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan, has issued a statement saying that the defense of the right of citizens to peacefully assemble is not only a fundamental political right but that it affords citizens the possibility to defend other basic human rights as well.
Mr. Andreasyan said he was making comments on the matter in three capacities: as a mediator for political dialogue, as an observer of the situation regarding the defense of human rights, and specifically as the country's current Human Rights Defender
He said that from the first day on the job, he has paid close attention to complaints his office has received regarding the right to peacefully assemble and gave the example of the March 3 protest rally staged by street vendors and Heritage Party MP's outside the Government Building.
The HR Defender says that when he heard about the violations taking place at the protest, he immediately dispatched staff members and that he showed up as well.
Mr. Andreasyan says that by the time he arrived, the protest was ending; but that he witnessed violations by the police and that later on he submitted a written request to the RA Police calling for a full investigation.
He says the Police Department has failed to act upon his request and that such behaviour does not bode well in terms of cementing trust between police officers and the public.
Mr. Andreasyan also notes that the police overstep their legal bounds when they initially denied the setting up of a tent for Heritage Party MP Raffi Hovannisian during his recent hunger strike in Freedom Square.
He also welcomes the fact that on March 17, HAK opposition representatives and police officials were able to calmly negotiate and allow for protestors to enter Freedom Square without incident.