Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Karabakh elects Ombudsman

I think this is one of the most important news of the day which did not get enough attention in Armenian media.

Developing democracy and creating necessary institutions within the state structures to protect human rights is very positive step forward, indeed. KarabakhOpen describes newly elected Ombudsman Yuri Hairapetyan as “an experienced lawyer who has been the chair of the Committee of State and Legal Affairs [in the Karabakh parliament] for two terms.”

By electing Ombudsman – human rights defender, Karabakh made yet another important step in terms of institutional changes towards establishing democracy. It is for utmost importance for Karabakh citizens. This will also provide additional strength for Karabakh’s case for independence internationally.

Recent examples from Armenia prove that despite being nominated by the head of state - and my initial lack of trust (with remaining reservations) – Armenian Ombudsman, apart from opposition Heritage party MPs, remained the only state figure to be able to provide at least some kind of basic human rights interventions during the state of emergency.

KarabakhOpen reports:

Today’s meeting of the parliament of Karabakh will probably be remembered as the parliament which elected the human rights defender. Through secret ballot the only candidate was elected – the chair of the NKR National Assembly Committee for State and Legal Affairs Yuri Hairapetyan. Speaker Ashot Ghulyan said this candidature was agreed to by all the factions.

In his speech Yuri Hairapetyan thanked his colleagues for confidence and informed that he has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer.

The law on the human rights defender was passed several years ago, and in May 2005 the office of the human rights defender should have been set up. However, the issue was put off, either for the lack of a suitable candidate or for other reasons, until the provision on the human rights defender was set down in the Constitution in December 2006. Afterwards a presidential election was held, and only now the parliament decided to elect an ombudsman.

*photo - via KarabakhOpen

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