Politics 17:38 27/11/2018 NKR

Artsakh Ombudsman: Protection of Artsakh people's rights is more related to political issues

After the April war, Ruben Melikyan, who was appointed the Artsakh Republic Human Rights Defender, resigned in September. Prior to his resignation, he presented a special report on the allegations of Armenophobia in Azerbaijan, with which, in essence, ending the fact-finding works on 2016 April war, which was initially considered to be important.

Politician and public administration specialist Artak Beglaryan is the current the Ombudsman of Artsakh and he swore after he was elected in the National Assembly to fulfill his “duties with impartiality, with supreme honesty and diligence”.

Artak Beglaryan answered Panorama.am’s questions.

Panorama.am - What is the peculiarity of human rights protection in Artsakh, is it is purely legal or also political taking into account the status of Artsakh?
A. Beglaryan: Human rights are universal in terms of declaration and refer to everyone regardless of their attributes. The same applies to the people of Artsakh, but the world has not yet reached the full implementation of the universal principle, and the people of Artsakh are affected by that as well.
Peculiarities stem from three main factors: the fact that Artsakh's not recognized, the conflict with Azerbaijan, and the system of values and morale of Artsakh's society. Because of its not being recognized, Artsakh is almost entirely deprived of the opportunity to experience the best international practices. A number of unusual human rights issues and priorities are emerging, especially when Azerbaijan is pursuing an aggressive anti-Armenian policy. And society's value system and mentality are sources of certain peculiarities in any society, since no matter how universal human rights are, at least the local peculiarities should be taken into account in the development and implementation of a specific policy.
In general, any sphere in the state is not isolated, and all spheres interact with one another. In particular, in this case, yes, the protection of Artsakh people's rights is more closely related to political issues than those of the citizens of the recognized states.

Panorama.am - What new programs do you have, which are particularly yours or are dictated by current times?
A. Beglaryan: First of all, it is important to underline that I will continue the programs launched by the former Ombudsman. And I plan new projects in all possible ways. Particularly, in the upcoming period I plan to conduct studies on the state of protection of specific rights and to make recommendations for the protection of rights. I attach importance to regular visits and monitoring activities, especially in closed and semi-closed institutions, particularly in the penitentiary units, psychological dispensaries, retirement homes, child care and protection boarding centers, military units, as well as educational and healthcare facilities.

I will continue my efforts to raise the awareness of the society in the legal field, and the program of steps and events to be implemented for that purpose is being developed. There are already concrete initiatives in that direction. in particular, in recent days we have announced a contest of photos and videos titled "Human rights through my eyes" to which all schoolchildren from Artsakh can participate. Of course, I also have projects in international and conflict-related areas, seeking to uncover violations of Artsakh people's rights and take concrete measures to eliminate them and prevent them.
Another aspect is the continuous improvement of the capacity and management system of the Ombudsman's team. With regard to this we have an agreement with the RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, and Artsakh HRD staff will get regular trainings with them. Within this framework, our staff has had a two-week internship at the RA Human Rights Defender's Office since September.
I also plan to complete the work on the development of the new official website launched by the former Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan and introduction of the Malibr Electronic Document Management System.

Panorama.am - What is your "inheritance" from the previous Human Rights Defender?
A. Beglaryan - I've got a good legacy in all respects. Due to the efforts of the first and second defenders Yuri Hayrapetyan and Ruben Melikyan, the Human Rights Defender institution has not only been formed, but also has made a considerable progress in having tangible achievements in improving human rights culture, raising legal awareness of the population, improving human rights protection mechanisms, internationalization of the consequences of the anti-Armenian policy of Azerbaijan, the formation of a professional staff and a number of other issues. Now it is my turn to reinforce and develop the existing achievements and I am determined in this issue.

Panorama.am – What is your vision on the work to be done with the relevant European institutions?
A. Beglaryan - I will continue to have formal and informal meetings with our international partners and will try to expand and deepen cooperation programs with them. The main principle and the principle of my activity in that direction will be the universal human rights, presenting that Artsakh should not be deprived of the opportunity to become part of the global system of human rights because of its political status.
I have the goal to establish direct links with different international organizations and support the establishment of ties between them and Artsakh civil society institutions. Instruments in communication with each organization may vary depending on the situation and the specific features of the given organization.

Panorama.am- PACE has recently adopted a resolution on its presence in not recognized states, in particular regarding human rights. To what extent is the resolution prospective for Artsakh and what are you going to initiate with regard to it?
A. Beglaryan - Although some formulations of the PACE resolution were not so successful, it is good to see that European institutions gradually come to the conclusion that human rights are universal and the political status of any territory should not affect its international isolation. The Artsakh Republic authorities have repeatedly stated that we are ready to cooperate with international structures, so Artsakh's doors are open to them. As the obstacles are put forth by them, they should be the ones to undertake more steps, and I personally intend to use all possible opportunities to raise the issue of the protection of the rights of Artsakh people on the international platforms and to create favorable conditions for the involvement of international institutions in Artsakh.
Panorama.am - In your speech at the National Assembly of Artsakh you mentioned that you will promote the further recognition of Artsakh and will oppose the xenophobic and bellicose statements of Azerbaijan. What tools are you going to use?
A. Beglaryan - Of course, this is not an easy and short way, but every capable person should have their investment within the limits of his or her capabilities. My main toolkit is to raise awareness of the violations and limitations of the human rights by trying to make them a concern for international human rights defenders.

Source Panorama.am
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