Peace Dialogue launched a new project for the future conscripts in Armenia, who will be soon recruited to serve in the Army. The project is called “Promotion of Human Rights Mechanisms among the Future Conscripts in the Armenian Military Forces” and is aimed at raising awareness of the future conscripts about the mechanisms of the human rights protection in the Military Forces and at equipping them with practical skills and instruments that will help them to stand for their rights during the military service.
On August 11, 2016, in response to the Peace Dialogue’s letter, the Chief of Staff of the RA MoD, stated: “According to Article 9 and Article 12 of the RA law on State and Official Secrets, as well as the decision N 173 made on March 13, 1998 and decision number 665 made on October 29, 1998, the questions and legal acts, requested by the organization, contain state and official secrets.
The inaugural ARENA: Summer School for Peace and Art was held this year in Borjomi, Georgia. During the Summer School a group of 47 activists, independent artists and trainers from 9 different countries including the Russian Federation, Netherlands, Armenia, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Italy, Ukraine, Georgia, and Germany worked in three groups: theatre, graphic design and video.
The Summer School was organized under the scope of the three-year project ARENA: Community Theatre and Public Art launched in 2015. ARENA aims to empower civil society representatives of former Soviet Union and Eastern partnership countries and the Russian Federation to work together to develop creative approaches, new methods and activities in the field of human rights and peace building.
“Very often people get angry and say “Where were you before the conflict? Why weren’t you doing such trainings before the conflict?” And I answer, we do our activities not after this conflict but before a future possible conflict. The things we say to other people mean nothing and have no effect on them. The most effective method is how we live our lives and how we deal with the things in a given situations: this is what people see and value first of all”. – This is how G. Bozicevic formulated his view on peace leadership.
The website and database www.safesoldiers.am has been updated with information provided to Peace Dialogue NGO by private individuals, and NGOs along with information from public media. With this update, the website database now lists a total of 810 fatalities recorded in the Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces since 1994 (currently the complete database is available at the Armenian version of the website).
Through the grant from CMI, Peace Dialogue provided financial support to a total of five projects. In two of the projects the participants were mainly young people. These projects were intended to analyze public monuments as components of collective memory and the messages they send to future generations. Another three projects were directed at particular segments of the history, for example documentation of the memories of women who survived the war and children born after the war.
In a court hearing presided over by Judge Arman Dilanyan on March 11, 2016 the Administrative Court of Armenia decided to reject Peace Dialogue NGO’s complaint challenging the legitimacy of the classification of secret information mentioned in Section 17, Point 42 and 43 in the list provided by Executive Order N9 of the Ministry of Defense, dated July 9, 2015, and to partially annul the executive order.
“In a democracy, soldiers are citizens. It is that simple: they deserve to be treated as citizens, and they should not tolerate being treated otherwise, even if the military service, in training and operations, includes hardships and deprivations. An army that structurally violates the rights of its citizen-soldiers will lose legitimacy, and, in the long …