Our contribution to the EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue 2016

Photography credits: Yanni Koutsomitis/Flickr

On the 3rd of March, ChildPact participated at the preparatory meeting prior to the EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue 2016 organised by the European External Action Service and by the European Commission. During the meeting we had the opportunity to talk about some of the main concerns hindering substantial progress in the child protection reform in Armenia.

Our contribution to the Dialogue was mandated by the Armenian Child Protection Network (uniting 30 child-focused NGOs in the country) and was based on the results revealed by the Child Protection Index. Together with World Vision International and the Armenian Child Protection Network, we implemented the Child Protection Index to assess the extent to which Armenia complies with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Index – a comparative policy tool made of 626 indicators– has looked at those UNCRC articles that are the most relevant for the vulnerable children in Armenia. The results have illustrated the government’s actions towards child protection through the lens of policy, service delivery, capacity, accountability and coordination.  Through this instrument, Armenia was compared to other countries in the region: Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Georgia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Albania.

Our inputs and recommendations to advance child rights in Armenia were as follows:

  1. (i) Further cross-sector coordination and cooperation mechanisms are needed between the bodies within the child protection system. (ii) Performance mechanisms, roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined at all the relevant levels of administration.
  2. (i) The performance mechanisms, roles and responsibilities of the child protection units and of the professionals working with children need to be revised. (ii) Social workers should be included in the child protection units both at regional and community level.
  3. Child protection services need to be further developed, together with quality standards and licensing mechanisms for the child protection actors.
  4. (i) Armenia should continue the process of deinstitutionalisation while developing alternative care services. (ii) Armenia should include a specific number of foster care families in each year’s annual state budget.
  5. Violence against children is a systemic concern in Armenia and the measures meant to fight it are poor and insufficient.
  6. (i) The Armenian juvenile justice system needs to be reformed and become more child-friendly; (ii) Children should have better access to justice to speak up when their rights are being violated.

You can read our full written contribution here.

On the 17th of March, in Yerevan, during the official Dialogue with the Armenian government, the EEAS’s discussions’ agenda will focus on the following human rights related topics: the National Framework for Human Rights; the activity of National Human Rights Institutions (Ombudsperson); the implementation of the Human Right Action Plan its continuation; the elections and the electoral code; freedom of assembly, expression and information; anti-discrimination policy; protection of marginalised groups; rights of the child; gender equality and domestic violence; Armenia’s participation in the international fora.