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   12.09.2017

The Ombudsman announced the second annual human rights competition dedicated to Zabel Yesayan’s heritage

On September 1, the Day of Knowledge and Education, during an event organized by Tufenkyan Benevolent Foundation at the secondary school after the name of Zabel Yesayan in the village of Arajamugh, Hadrut, Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman announced the 2nd Republican Student Essay Contest on Human Rights in which can participate students of 9-12th grade from all over the schools of Artsakh.
This year the partners of the competition are Tufenkyan Benevolent Foundation and the US National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). The competition is dedicated to the 20th century prominent human rights activist, writer and publicist Zabel Yesayan’s heritage ant the theme is “Why are human rights important: my own reality and Zabel Yesayan’s experience.”
The co-organizer of the competition Judith Saryan (USA) emphasized that Zabel Yesayan’s heritage will help Artsakh schoolchildren to perceive the struggle for human rights as our distinctive cultural and historical tradition.  To prepare the essay for the competition, it is necessary to read and use the pre-material extract from Zabel Yesayan’s “The Gardens of Silihdar” (http://www.ombudsnkr.am/docs/Zapel_Esayan.pdf). 
The deadline for the submission of the essays is October 30. The rules of the contest can be found in the following link: http://ombudsnkr.am/docs/2017_KARG.pdf.                                                                      
A competition commission was set up to evaluate the essays involving public figures from Artsakh, Armenian Republic and the Diaspora, including Zabel Yesayan’s grandson, YSU Associate Professor Alexander Yesayan, the prominent Italian-Armenian writer Antonia Arslan, USA Armenian Bar Association representative Garo Ghazaryan, representative of the Armenian Assembly of America Arpi Vardanyan, members of parliament of the Artsakh Republic National Assembly. This year the Chair of the competition commission is the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia Arman Tatoyan.               
While evaluating the essays, creative approach, knowledge of the original material, originality and analytical work will be highlighted. The winners will be awarded valuable prizes, the finalist will get special prizes and all other participants will receive souvenirs.   The results of the competition will be summarized on December 10, the Human Rights International Day.

   01.09.2017

The Ombudsman visited Talish village with the Canadian MPs and human rights activist

On August 31, AR Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan, Canadian MPs Tony Clementon and Rachael Harder, One Free World International human rights organization President Majed el-Shafi and the representative of the Canadian Hay Dat Group Sevak Pelian paid a visit to Talish village.
   The Canadian delegation got acquainted with the facts of atrocities committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the April war of 2016, which had been recorded through fact-finding activities of the Artsakh Ombudsman’s institution.
   19.07.2017

The Ombudsman received a group of international delegates

On July 18 2017, Artsakh Republic Human Rights Ombudsman received the co-chairs of the International Working Group for the Release of Prisoners and Hostages and the Tracing of Missing Persons in Karabakh Conflict Svetlana Ganushkina, Paata Zaqareishvili and Bernhard Clasen.
         R.Melikyan introduced the situation of the AR Republic Human Rights Ombudsman’s institution, its activities, particularly, the results of the April war fact-finding results.              
          On the request of the Group’s members, the Ombudsman, within the frame of his mandate as provided by the AR Law, provided them with an opportunity to examine the materials of the criminal case on D.Askerov and Sh.Guliyev sentenced by the Artsakh Republic courts for a number of crimes, to get acquainted with the terms of punishment of the mentioned convicts, as well as to visit them them at Shushi penitentiary institution.     The co-chairs of the Group were thankful for the opportunity.
   17.06.2017

The Ombudsman visited California

On June 9-14, Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman visited California at the invitation of the Armenian Bar Association. On June 9-11, R.Melikyan took part in the 28th annual conference of the Association within the framework of which a panel discussion on the human rights situation in Artsakh took place. The speakers were R.Melikyan, Chairwoman of the Hay Dat office of the US Western Coast Nora Hovsepyan, and Los Angeles Deputy Prosecutor Emmy Ashvanyan. Specific programs of involvement in Artsakh human rights protection by the professional bodies of Diaspora were discussed.
On June 13, R.Melikyan had a public meeting with the representatives of Armenian community at Glendale Armenian Youth Alliance Hall, which was held in an interview format with Ara Khachatryan, editor of “Asparez” daily newspaper. In the end of the meeting R.Meliqyan answered the questions of the audience.
On June 14, R.Melikyan accompanied by the head of the Armenian Rights Committee (ARC) Garo Ghazaryan, visited Glendale City Police Department and detention facilities attached to it, as well as the Municipality, got acquainted with the human rights protection mechanisms at the police, and attended the Civil Service Council meeting at the Municipality. 
On the invitation of the newly established Artsakh Human Rights Foundation, R.Melikyan took part in the round-table discussion organized by the Foundation during which an agreement of strategic cooperation between the Foundation and Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman was achieved. R.Melikyan emphasized that he considers the Foundation’s establishment as a peculiar response by the Diaspora to the policy of individual human rights structures aimed at avoiding implementation of programs in Artsakh.Thanks to the Special Foundation to Support Human Rights Guarantee, it will be possible for Artsakh citizens to implement the programs that are not available temporarily.
   20.04.2017

The Ombudsmanpresented 2016 Annual Report on Activities at the National Assembly sitting

On April 20, at the plenary session of the National Assembly of Artsakh Republic, Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan presented the 2016 Annual Report on activities of HRD institution and the situation of human rights in the country.
R.Melikyan detailed the statistical picture of the applications, as well as touched upon the strategic directions of the Ombudsman’s activity, including raising the legal culture of society, strengthening the dialogue with the civil society, guaranteeing human rights in closed institutions.
The Ombudsman specifically underlined the need to elaborate, adopt andimplement Artsakh Republic human rights strategy, and under these conditions it would be possible to achieve measurable results by a systematic approach. R.Melikyan also pointed that he expects assistance from the Diaspora structures as well as human rights community in the development of the strategy.
After the speech, the Ombudsman answered the deputies’ questions.

   18.04.2017

The Ombudsman visited № 11 High School

On April 18, on the initiative of Stepanakert № 11 High School Directorate, a meeting of Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan was held with the students.
The Ombudsman welcomed the initiative emphasizing the importance of rooting the culture of respect for human rights among the students. R.Melikyan discussed issues concerning the choice of profession with the graduating students, and then delivered a lecture on the importance and essence of human rights and Ombudsman’s institute.                  
In the end, the Ombudsman answered the questions of the students.

   14.04.2017

The Ombudsman met with the civil society representatives

On April 14, a meeting of Human Rights Ombudsman and Artsakh civil society representatives was held in Shushi during which Ruben Melikyan presented the results of his working visits to Europe and USA in 2017, as well as the main provisions of the HRD 2016 annual report.

In the course of the meeting, a number of ideas and ways for their implementation aimed at strengthening Artsakh civil society structures and increasing the effectiveness of their activity were discussed. The Ombudsman underscored the importance of the active role of NGOs in making Artsakh more recognizable. In their turn, the civil society representatives raised questions of their interest, including the consequences of taxation of financial means provided by the private sector, issues of cooperation with foreign partners. During the exchange of views on HRD annual report, the civil society representatives underlined the need to activate work in Artsakh regions, as well as in closed institutions.

In conclusion, the Ombudsman assured that the views expressed will be further considered in the work and that the tradition of open dialogue with the civil society will continue.

A press conference of Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman followed the meeting with the civil society.
   29.03.2017

Post Boxes were placed at Shushi penitentiary institution

     On the initiative of the Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan, post boxes were placed in all three regimes of the penitentiary institution for gathering the applications directly addressed to the Ombudsman. 
     R.Melikyan found this initiative as effective cooperation with the Shushi penitentiary institution. He noted that only the HRD staff will have access to the post boxes.

   16.03.2017

The Ombudsman is on a working visit in the United States

Since March 8, Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan is on a working visit in the United States of America organized by the Hay Dat Office of the US West Coast. R.Melikyan has had 33 events in New York, Boston, Providence, and Washington, including seven public speeches at the academic community and in various circles of Diaspora.                                                                                                                  
On March 15 and 16, Artsakh Ombudsman expressed his concerns over human rights issues to congressmen David Valadao, Adam Schiff (California) and Jim Mcgoverni (Massachusetts).                                                                                                                
During the meetings they particularly discussed atrocities committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the April war, as well as Lapshin’s case. The same issues were discussed on March 10 in Providence with Congressman David Cicilline representing Rhode Island.

   20.02.2017

Human Rights Ombudsman’s Staff to operate a hotline

On February 20, 2017, the day of the new constitution of Artsakh, a 2017 hotline will be operated by the Human Rights Ombudsman’s stafffor the purpose of rapid response to the applications relating the right to participate in the referendum, as well as free exercise of professional activity by mass media.
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