Raising citizens’ legal consciousness to be one of my goals, says new Ombudsman of Artsakh
YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 6, ARMENPRESS. Newly-appointed Human Rights Defender of Artsakh Artak Beglaryan plans to meet with public officials, civil society representatives and residents of different regions of Artsakh in the coming months, to reveal the existing problems, complaints and propose solutions within his powers.
The Ombudsman gave an interview to ARMENPRESS, talking about his future plans and actions.
-Mr. Beglaryan, on October 31 you have been elected as Human Rights Defender by the Parliament of Artsakh. What are going to be your first actions and programs which require urgent solution?
-I will continue the normal activity of the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh. I am planning to meet with public officials, civil society representatives soon to discuss the existing problems, difficulties and also the possible options for their solution.
Of course, I am familiar with the system as I have worked as the head of the department of the Ombudsman staff for almost a year, but I consider it necessary to have an opportunity to get acquainted with the problems already with my new status so that I can plan my future actions for myself. I also plan to visit different regions of Artsakh to meet with the locals. I will also visit closed and partially closed institutions.
All fields require long-term work with the participation of both the Ombudsman, the civil society and all branches of power. Of course, a proper cooperation, mutual trust with the executive leadership are very important, and I will try to conduct the Ombudsman’s activities based on this principle with the goal to record long-term results.
I will pay a specific attention to the protection of rights of children. The protection of rights of disabled, elderly people, as well as other socially vulnerable groups will be a priority for the Human Rights Defender.
-Will there be visits to the military units?
-Of course, I will also pay a great importance to the visits to military units, but before the observations we must prepare their methodological base, and also the employees must be prepared methodologically, have respective guidelines in order to conduct effective research. This relates to both the military units and all the remaining directions.
-What actions are you going to take for cooperation with international structures and organizations?
-Former Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan has conducted a huge work in this direction. I will continue the same course, will hold formal and informal meetings with our international partners and will try to expand the geography and deepen the cooperation programs with them. The universality of human rights will be the main principle and argument of my activity in this direction, presenting that Artsakh should not be deprived of the opportunity to be part of the global system of human rights due to its political status.
-Did the number of applications of citizens addressed to the Ombudsman increase?
-The number of applications in 2017 was 119, and in the recent years the Ombudsman’s staff has received about the same quantity annually. There is a certain trend of increase in the number of applications in recent months, and I think this year it may be more from the average. Of course, there is a problem of legal consciousness, since sometimes we receive applications which are not within the frames of our powers, but we try to help the people by giving at least a legal advice on how they must protect their rights. Raising the legal consciousness of citizens and improving the respective culture of human rights are going to be among my goals.
-Do you consider the possibility of presenting legislative initiatives?
-The law provides such an opportunity, and that mechanism exists. Of course, the staff’s opportunities are quite limited, but we will try to be engaged in the process of improvement of legislative field dealing with human rights as much as we will be able to reveal the legislative problems based on our research and analysis.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan