Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!28.12.2007
On behalf of the whole staff, YCDI NGO cordially congratulates you for the coming holidays. Let us wish you every success in all your initiatives.
With Best Wishes,
On behalf of the whole staff, YCDI NGO cordially congratulates you for the coming holidays. Let us wish you every success in all your initiatives.
With Best Wishes,
December 10, is the international Human Rights Day. This day in 1948, the UN General Assembly has adopted the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, which has, for the first time during the human history, has declared throughout the world the principle of universality and the necessity of respect of Human Rights.
On this occasion, YCDI NGO congratulates all those who share the values stated within the Declaration and make all possible efforts for their realization.
On November 27, 2007 Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives NGO participated in the meeting held in Yerevan at the “Armenia Marriott” Hotel, during which Cooperation Prospective between the Human Rights Defender’s Office, the Council of Europe High Commissioner of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights” were discussed. Discussion was organized by UNDP in cooperation with the RA Human Rights Defender's Office. At the meeting RA Minsiter of Justice Gevorg Danielyan, President of the RA Court of Cassation H. Manoukyan, as well as judges, representatives of the law machinery, local and international organizations, state and local self-governing bodies, experts were invited.
The discussion aimed to inform the interested parties in the sphere of human rights about the new format of cooperation prospective between the Human Rights Defender’s Office, the Council of Europe High Commissioner of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.
The participants discussed the issues of raising the effectiveness of cooperation of European organizations and national bodies with Human Rights Defender. Summarizing the meeting Armen Harutyunyan presented the following practical suggestions:
On the joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the European Day of Civil Justice (EDCJ) will be celebrated throughout Europe for the fifth consecutive year on 25 October.
The purpose of this Day is to help the 800 million citizens of the 47 Council of Europe's 47 member states to be better informed of their rights and the way in which justice works on a daily basis, through events organised by the member states (open days in courts, colloquies, television programmes, etc.).
For further information: www.coe.int/CEPEJ
In Vanadzor “Tsitsernak” camp on September 13th the official closing ceremony of Human Rights Education National Training Course was held. The course was conducted in the frames of “Human Rights Education National Training Courses” program of the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe and “All different, All equal” pan-European Youth Campaign. During the closing ceremony the certificates on participation in the training course have been officially awarded to the training participants.
The official opening of the training course was held on September 10th in which Arthur Poghosyan the deputy minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of RA and Antje Rothemund the executive director of European Youth Center in Budapest have participated.
37 active youth representatives from all regions of Armenia and the capital city have participated in the training course.
The project consists of two stages. The first stage is educational part during which knowledge on human rights education have been delivered to the participants. Each participant was provided an example of “COMPASS” a manual on Human Rights Education with young people. During the educational process a number of exercises and theoretical material from the manual were used. Within the frames of the training the participants had an opportunity to develop their own project ideas, discuss them with colleagues and to learn about possible founding resources.
In the second stage (October 2007 – May 2008) the participants will have an opportunity to implement project directed to human rights education. The best projects presented by the participants will also be supported by RA ministry if sport and youth.
The project was made possible as result of cooperation and efforts of the National Campaign Committee of “All different, All equal”, “World Independent Youth Union”, “Active Youth Citizens Initiative”, “Armenian Constitutional Right-protective Center”, “National Pool of Trainers” and “Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives” NGOs.
International organization unlawfully persecuted in Russia: Youth Human Rights Movement has been closed by the Russian authorities. “Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives” NGO was one of the collective members of YHRM in Armenia.
One of the most active human rights organizations in the Russian speaking space "International Youth Human Rights Movement" has been declared "inactive" and was deprived of legal personality by court decision in Nizhy Novgorod, Russia on demand of the Federal Registration Service.
The judgment has been passed on Jun.13 but organization learned about it just a few days ago – the hearings took place behind closed doors with YHRM not notified.
The international organization, which unites more than a thousand activists from 22 countries, was de jure declared non-existent.
This case is one of the consequences of the much criticized new Russian legislation on NGO that severely hinder activities of NGOs and give controlling bodies extended powers of sanctions. Ironically, YHRM is quite active in supporting freedom of association and has been one of the most vocal critics of the new legislation.
The International YHRM is going to appeal the decision and is calling for support for all civil society actors, facing increased pressure and extensive control from the authorities in Russia.
YCDI NGO provides its support to YHRM and has been sending requests to Russian authorities expressing its concern regarding the closure of YHRM.
Letters of support are very welcomed, send to the address of organization:
39400, Russia, Voronezh-center, box 152,
by fax: +7 4732 54 55 30 (preferably)
or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
More details on the case, as well as the call of solidarity are available on the website of YHRM http://www.yhrm.org/defence_yhrm/51/ (soon updated into English)
History of YHRM: http://www.yhrm.org/eng/about/history/
More about the work of YHRM: http://www.yhrm.org/eng/direction/
Additional information (in Russian and English):
Honorary President of YHRM Andrey Yurov +7-916-113-51-81;
Coordinator of legal programs Dmitri Makarov +7-916-537-13-67.
In the frames of the national training projects of Human Rights Education (HRE) program of the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe a Human Rights Education National Training project will be organized in Armenia on September 10-14.
The Armenian version of “COMPASS”, the Human Rights Education Youth Manual, has been published in Armenia in December 2006. It allows making the Human Rights Education accessible to all interested structures, i.e. NGOs, secondary and high schools, universities, as well as for individuals. The exercises and theoretical materials of the Manual will be used during the project.
The project was made possible as result of cooperation and efforts of the National Committee of “All different, All equal”, “World Independent Youth Union”, “Active Youth Citizens Initiative”, “Armenian Constitutional Right-protective Center”, “National Pool of Trainers” and “Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives” NGOs.
The training is implemented in the frames of “All different, All equal” pan-European Youth Campaign.
Application forms for the participation in the training may be downloaded from here. Completed application forms should be sent to email@example.com by the 28th of August.
The Pan-Armenian Youth International Conference entitled “Challenges of the 21st Centaury and the Armenian Youth” took place in Yerevan on July 9-10, which was organized by the “World Armenian Congress” by the proposal of the “Association of Youth Organizations”, which is the uniting body for its youth structures. 250 young people representing different youth international organizations from 25 countries of the world took part in the conference. During the conference except for the reports on the challenges of the 21st centaury and the role of the Armenian youth, there were also 5 working groups formed, in which the representatives of YCDI NGO actively took part. As a result of the conference activities a declaration was adopted.
YCDI NGO is a founder member of the “Association of youth organizations” of the “World Armenian Congress”.
On July 6th YCDI NGO general assembly took place, which was organized by the decision of the Board of organization. The heads of the departments presented speeches and reports during the assembly and the chairperson of the organization reported on the implemented works and NGO general activities. New strategic plan (2007-2009) of the organization was highly prioritized by the assembly participants and the newly elected chairperson, the Board members were encouraged to make all efforts for implementation of those activities that would lead towards the achievement of strategic goals. The new members of the Board and the governing bodies have been elected for next 2 years by the absolute majority of voices. Tatevik Matinyan was elected as YCDI NGO chairperson. In her speech, she first of all expressed her gratitude to the assembly participants for their trust, then assured that the upcoming 2 years are going to be the years of strengthening of the organization.
On June 19, the International Center for Human Development NGO, in cooperation with the Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives NGO, has organized a training course in Vanadzor in the frames of the project “Enhancing public participation in the decision making process in Armenia: initiating a community experience to anchor people’s involvement in the public policy making culture”. The training was attended by the members of YCDI NGO as well as active young people from Vanadzor for becoming capable of organization of town hall meetings in the future.
The project is being implemented with the support of the European Commission Delegation to Armenia. In the frames of this project YCDI NGO is the partner of the International Center for Human Development NGO in Lori Region.
We, Edmon Marukyan and Mikayel Baghdasaryan, respectively the former Chairman and the former Deputy Chairman of the Group of Public Observers Implementing Surveillance at the Detention Facilities of the RA Police System (the Group), are hereby announcing that the RA Police not interested in expressing a genuine will for establishing public monitoring over the protection of human rights at the detention facilities, for preventing and identifying the cases of violations of human rights, for improving the life conditions of detainees and for increasing the public awareness concerning the issues of detention facilities, thus actually turning the Group into a formal structure. The evidence and justification for this is the information received a few days ago according to which our membership with the Group has been terminated by the decree of the RA Chief of Police.
This has happened after the Group has presented its first annual report on 17 April 2007, outlining the real situation of the police detention facilities, which was unprecedented in its kind and in the preparation of which we had significant contribution.
The RA Police, considering the fact that we are also members of the Group of Observers Implementing Public Monitoring at the Criminal Executive Facilities and Bodies under the jurisdiction of the RA Ministry of Justice, in the beginning of this year, has made a change in the Group’s Statute, thus prohibiting the involvement of members of other observation groups. Afterwards, violating the 1st and 3rd items of 78th article of the RA Law “about the legal acts”, by its own decree, the RA Police has assigned retrospective power to the change performed previously, and expelled us from the Group based on it.
By the way, till today, the Group has not received excerpts from the mentioned two decrees in writing. This is why, the text of this announcement is missing specific dates and registration numbers of those decrees. It is noteworthy, that according to the decree No 368 of the RA Chief of Police from 10 March 2006, we have been involved in the Group for the period of 3 years and were elected in our respective positions by the majority of the Group members on 29 October 2006. With this, we condemn such work style of the RA Police and announce that we are going to apply to the RA Human Rights Ombudsman and dispute the legitimacy of the decree at the court.
Additionally, it should be noted that the former Chairman, a former police colonel and a representative of “Union of servants of law-enforcement” Charitable NGO, has been reelected in the position of the Group Chairman.
Further information on the Statute and activities of the Group, as well as the annual report, may be found at the official website of the Group www.policemonitor.am.
Edmon Marukyan, “Media Group” Mass Media NGO
Mikayel Baghdasaryan, “Collaboration for Democracy Union” NGO
On April 20, 2007, the Lori Regional Center for the Organization of Youth Events has hosted the representatives of “Sksel a…” Youth Movement. During the meeting the guests introduced the actions and campaigns they have organized in Yerevan, as well as responded to the questions posed by youth. At the end of the meeting, an agreement was reached between the participants and the representatives of “Sksel a…” Youth Movement for implementation of similar campaigns and events in Vanadzor aiming at raising important issues of local significance.
You may receive further information on “Sksel a…” from the Movement’s website: www.sksela.info.
At the end of 2006, a number of organizations, including the Youth Center for Democratic Initiatives NGO, have undertaken the formation of the NGO cooperation network entitled “Legal Initiative, Elections 2007”, the main purpose of which is to provide free legal consulting and offer protection during all phases of the upcoming elections. This will be carried out by the already formed network of organizations, and through the different regional subdivisions and structures, as well as by the support of other interested organizations and citizens. The legal consulting will be delivered by the means of hot-line. The free access telephone number operating throughout the whole territory of Armenia will be serving as a means of obtaining consulting and information on possible violations of law.
The hot-line will be functioning from the period of April 1 to June 1, 2007, and the number is as follows: 080–080–804
On March 29, within the frameworks of the "Civic Surveillance for the Protection of Human Rights" Project, YCDI NGO has organized a Round-Table/Discussion dedicated to the issues of detainees and arrestees, as well as to the protection of their rights. Practicing defending-lawyers, right-protective NGOs, as well as Mass Media representatives took part in the Round-Table/Discussion.
During the Round-Table/Discussion, Edmon Marukyan, the Project Director, has presented the project achievements so far and the further steps. He has also emphasized the role of right-protective organizations and the defending lawyers in the protection of the rights of detainees and arrestees.
The next presenter of the Round-Table/Discussion was Arthur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, whose report was about the problems of detainees and arrestees. He has also welcomed the opening of the new premises of the "Vanadzor" criminal-executive institution.
The participants of the Round-Table/Discussion signified the exchange of information between the right-protective organizations, defending lawyers and the Mass Media, which was followed by active discussion about the systematized protection of the rights of detainees and arrestees.
On March 17, 2007, Edmon Marukyan, the YCDI NGO Board Member and the Acting Chairman, was hosted by an Alaverdi TV Station “Ankyun +3” to participate in the talk-show entitled “Pre-electoral Lori”. During the talk-show the YCDI NGO representative has talked about the role and involvement of youth in the pre-electoral processes. Mr. Marukyan has also presented the activities of YCDI NGO in the period of Parliamentary Elections. In particular, it was mentioned that the NGO is actively involved in the formation of the civic network called “Legal Initiative – Elections 2007”, as well as in the provision of legal assistance.
On March 17, from 11.00am to 17.00pm, at the AUA Business Center! Address: Aleq Manukyan 9. All interested organizations and citizens are welcome. Please confirm your participation by March 15, 2007, by calling +37410-229014 to Gayane Petrosyan or register by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Legal Initiative - Elections 2007"
Civic Network Board
On February 28, 2007, YCDI NGO has organized the second round table/discussion in the frames of “Antismoking Campaign in Vanadzor” project.
The purpose of the round table/discussion was to present the progress of the mentioned project to the interested Vanadzor NGOs and discuss the further activities, in particular, the formation of the “Antismoking NGO Coalition”. Representatives of active Vanadzor NGOs, as well as the local mass media took part in the round table/discussion.
The project is implemented within the frameworks of grants provided to the non-governmental organizations from the RA State budget, in assistance with the “Center of Public Dialogues and Development” and is aiming at increasing the public awareness regarding the requirements and limitations of the RA law “About the restrictions of cigarette distribution, consumption and use”.
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has taken a first range of decisions to tackle the backlog of pending cases - around 89 000 at the end of September 2006 before the European Court of Human Rights.
On the basis of the report submitted by the Group of Wise Persons, the Ministers Deputies.
- invited the Parliamentary Assembly, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary General and the Steering Committee for Human Rights to take part in the reflection on the Wise Persons™ Group proposals,
- welcomed the colloquy taking place in San Marino on 22 and 23 March 2007 on future developments of the European Court of Human Rights, as the start of a broader multidisciplinary hearing at the European level,
- invited member states to consider initiating relevant discussions at national level,
- agreed to resume consideration of this issue at their 117th Ministerial Session in May 2007 in the light of the exchanges of views which will have taken place with the aim of drawing up preliminary guidelines for a long lasting reform allowing the efficient functioning of the system.
The entry into force of Protocol 14 to the Convention is a prerequisite for the reforms proposed by the Group of Wise Persons. In its reply to Recommendation 1756 (2006) of the Parliamentary Assembly adopted yesterday, the Committee of Ministers stressed that it was deeply regrettable and a source of serious concern that the Russian Duma has not ratified Protocol No.14 to the ECHR, even though all the member states expressed their determination at the Warsaw Summit to ensure that it would. Despite this serious setback, which it urges Russia to quickly overcome, the Committee of Ministers will continue to give top priority to consolidating the system for the protection of human rights provided by the Convention.
“In 2006 the Armenian government has done little to address serious human rights violations”, - was stated in the report presented by Human Rights Watch International Rights Protective Organization on January 11, 2007.
The authors of the report have mentioned a number of issues. They have particularly stated that threats to media freedom in Armenia continued in 2006, and more journalists faced harassment and attacks, and electronic media lack pluralism and remain largely pro-government. The authors report that torture and ill-treatment remain serious problems in places of detention and the military. The specialists have highlighted the cases of property right violations. The fact of Armenian first ombudsperson’s dismissal was also presented in the certain report.