Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia released a statement addressing the number of human rights issues taking place in the pre-election campaign by the ruling, stating ‘It is unacceptable to constantly show the hammer and make people think that once could solve problems with a hammer.”
Tatoyan’s full statement runs as follows,
“Taking into account that the Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia continues to maintain the legal status of the Head of the Executive Power of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the fact that the competence of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia belongs to state bodies and officials, this statement addresses a number of human rights issues. During yesterday’s campaign in Syunik region:
1. It is unacceptable to constantly show the hammer and make pictorial comparisons, which can make people think of solving problems with a hammer. Moreover, the monitoring shows that the vocabulary associated with the hammer is more associated with violence (for example, “this will not be the people’s guts, and on June 20 this guts will go down to your empty heads”, etc.).
It is inadmissible to threaten law enforcement agencies with other political forces participating in the election campaign (“wants to fall under the control of the police”, etc.). Taking into account the direct subordination of the Police to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, such a vocabulary can be perceived as a wrong message for different police officers.
The context in which the term “steel mandate” is constantly used in connection with human rights violations is worrying.
After such rhetorical speeches by the acting Prime Minister, other high-ranking officials follow the same principle and use hate speech and violence, threatening to intervene with the Police (“you will be under the heels of law enforcement (…) we will step on you”, etc.).
2. The status of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia does not include making threats against local self-government bodies, in particular, community leaders.
In this particular case, we are talking about criminal cases – penitentiary institutions, as the Prime Minister has no authority to initiate criminal cases or deprive people of their liberty in a penitentiary institution.
The point is that community leaders are officials elected by primary mandate, by secret ballot of a citizen of the Republic of Armenia, and such an assessment of the Acting Prime Minister is first of all problematic from the point of view of citizens’ political rights, first of all, guaranteeing the right to vote.
3. Talking about mass dismissals of the acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia is connected with arbitrary interventions of mass violations of labor rights.
The need to address the mentioned issues is conditioned by the fact that the acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia is perceived by the people during the pre-election campaign as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, and not as the acting Prime Minister. The organizers of the gatherings present themselves, the speakers, as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.”