Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan: Amnesty International Human Rights Report 2008

Amnesty International published today its annual Human Rights Report 2008. This report covers the period January-December 2007. Below are summary points related to South Caucasus countries. Full report is available here. It's interesting to note that despite problems with human rights were observed in all South Caucasus countries, the extent and nature of highlighted human rights issues varied. I bet Armenia part of the report would be much harsher next year after taking into account massive human rights violations during the post-presidential election period in 2008.

Freedoms of assembly and expression were restricted. One person died in custody in disputed circumstances. Physical assaults on Jehovah’s Witnesses were reportedly not investigated. The authorities failed to introduce a genuinely civilian alternative to military service and conscientious objectors continued to be imprisoned. More...

There were not enough shelters for women escaping domestic violence, and some measures to protect women from violence were delayed. Police reportedly used excessive force to disperse anti-government demonstrations in November, and throughout the year there were reports of police beating suspects when arresting them. Unfair trials of political opponents of the government were reported. More...

Freedoms of expression and assembly continued to be widely restricted. Independent and opposition journalists faced imprisonment on libel charges, harassment by law enforcement officials and, in some cases, physical assault. Two widely read opposition newspapers were shut down; five journalists were pardoned and released at the end of the year. Three teenagers were imprisoned for 10 years without investigation into allegations that they had confessed under torture. Human rights activists were intimidated. An ethnic Azeri activist was extradited to Iran despite risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Internally displaced people were prevented from fully exercising their social and economic rights. More...

1 comment:

artmika said...

US State Department released its Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports 2008 on 27 May which reflects recent presidential elections in Armenia as well as other democracy and human rights related issues in our country:

"Armenia is a constitutional republic with a popularly elected president and a unicameral legislature (National Assembly). The February 2008 presidential elections were significantly flawed. Problems included favorable treatment of the government's candidate, instances of ballot stuffing, vote-buying, multiple voting, voter intimidation, violence against opposition commission members and proxies, and suspiciously high turnout figures. On March 1, 2008, the government imposed a state of emergency and used force to disperse large crowds of protesters, restricting media freedoms and the right of assembly and arresting scores of protesters. The clashes between protesters and security services resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people. The state of emergency was lifted March 20, 2008, but restrictions on civil liberties remain in force due to a strict new law on public gatherings, pressure on opposition media, and continuing arrests and intimidation of government opponents. The government's human rights record remained poor. Citizens were not able to freely change their government; authorities beat pretrial detainees; the National Security Service and the national police force acted with impunity; authorities engaged in arbitrary arrest and detention; courts remained subject to political pressure from the executive branch; prison conditions were cramped and unhealthy, although slowly improving; and authorities imposed restrictions on citizens' privacy, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. Journalists continued to practice self‑censorship, and the government and laws restricted religious freedom. Violence against women remained a problem, as well as trafficking in persons, discrimination against persons with disabilities, and societal harassment of homosexuals. There were reports of forced labor."

Full report is available here