The Republican Party under President Serzh Sargsyan hopes to solidify its grip on power when Armenians go to the polls on 2 April. But, new developments amongst the opposition along with the death on hunger strike of the ‘Bread Bringer’ have made the contest far more unpredictable than the ruling party would like.
Protest rallies erupted in the Armenian capital of Yerevan last week after the death of Artur Sargsyan, who passed away after being on hunger strike for 25 days. Sargsyan was accused of assisting the ‘Daredevils of Sasun’ — an armed group of Karabakh war veterans who stormed a police station in Yerevan in July 2016, taking hostages. Two police officers were killed during the crisis.
Controversy surrounding commemorations for the 1992 Khojaly Massacre, which took place during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, has crept its way into Georgia. Despite a long record of peaceful coexistence between Georgia’s Armenian and Azerbaijani communities, a campaign calling for recognition of the tragedy as genocide has provoked indignation from activists.
Human rights in the military is an issue of concern to rights groups around the world. In Armenia, reports by local and international organisations and the US Department of State suggest a concerning situation in the the country’s armed forces.
Thousands of children in Armenia are needlessly separated from their parents and placed in institutions due to disability or poverty, American rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on 22 February.
Georgia ranks 13th in the world in economic freedom, according to the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by conservative American think-tank the Heritage Foundation. Meanwhile, Armenia came 33rd, Azerbaijan 68th, with Russia lagging behind at 113th, the third worst in Europe. Countries were scored from 0 to 100 in 12 components of economic freedom, with the average scores making up the country’s final ‘economic freedom score’.
American rights group Human Rights Watch has released the 27th edition of its annual World Report, which includes detailed chapters about the state of human rights in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. [Read more…]