WFCE practicing new model on Human Right Dialogue
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Advocacy Officer, Ms. Vardanova participated in the HuRiCamp – an experimental unconference on human rights organized by UN in Armenia on the occasion of the Human Rights Day. Human rights activists and defenders, and simply enthusiasts from a wide range of backgrounds came together to speak on various human rights issues in Armenia. In a friendly, cooperative environment designed to educate, share learning and inspire collaboration, speakers shared their ideas, solutions, challenges and achievements in tackling human rights issues in Armenia. WFCE interests in HuRiCamp were a wide range of interesting and provocative topics, such as women’s rights, human rights and national customs, poverty in the context of human rights, impact of social media in the protection of human rights, challenges of the displaced, consumers’ rights, use of art in the protection of human rights.
The greatest achievement for WFCE will be transmission of knowledge and skills to human rights activists who can effectively advocate human rights protection and transmit general awareness to the Armenian society. Lack of information and proficiency in this field is the crucial point for WFCE. We must not have a society, where people are not informed about what they can do and what they can’t, what rights they have and what rights –don’t. And it’s possible, because WFCE is such an organization, which can achieve its purpose as the team is professional and aware. The BarCamp method, which was used during the meeting is very interesting and new and can be used in WFCE’s future activities aimed to encourage and facilitate the promotion of respect for and awareness of human rights through education and training. As a result of future trainings the awareness on newest advocacy methods will be raised, advocacy skills will be developed, the network of the human rights activists will be widened. It’s an alternative to change approach to human rights and human rights protection.
WFCE and CONFERENCE ON ECONOMIC RIGHTS
WFCE was invited to participate in the conference on Economic Rights organized by the Office of Ombudsman RA in December 10. The conference was presided by the Ombudsman of Armenia Karen Andreasyan, gathered under one roof representatives of the executive, legislative, state regulatory, educational and business spheres, as well as representatives of human rights, consumer protection and other non-governmental organizations. The conference was attended by the RA Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, the Ambassadors of US, UK and representatives of international organizations in Armenia. According to Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan, the investment climate has improved, regardless of the fact that there are fewer investments being made. Nobody has appealed to Armenia’s Office of the Human Rights Defender with the complaint about his or her businesses being stolen or people trying to become shareholders of their businesses.
The conference helped to understand the main issues in economic rights and what should do government, NGOs, civil society representatives to improve the situation in Armenia.
During the presentation “Ensuring non-discriminatory conditions for business, and prevention of monopolies and dominant position in the market” the presenter touched upon the issue of healthy competition from the perspective of utilizing the internal potential of market players for implementing the principles of Human Rights and ensuring daily operation in line with what is set by Human Rights.
WFCE stresses on anti-discrimination legislation adoption in Armenia.
December 10 is observed as Human Rights Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
“We For Civil Equality” NGO is the guest of the youth program LyunSe in Armenian Public Radio (interview http://lyunse.com/en/?p=14317). NGO states that human rights condition in our country can’t be assessed as satisfactory. Indeed, compared with 2000, there are some positive improvements, but our country has still numerous problems in this area. WFCE stresses, especially, the great omission of legislation about anti-discrimination and hate speech punishment. The NGO chief is glad that in the recent period a number of civil initiatives have achieved success, and youth played a special role in that affair. However, our society goes on keeping silence and doesn’t raise the issue of own rights protection.
WFCE ''YOUTH DIALOGUE'' TRAINING, 3RD GROUP
During 4 training days representatives from different non-governmental organizations, social groups, with different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities took participation in training sessions organized by “We for Civil Equality” NGO in framework of the EED funded “ Youth Dialogue of Diversity” project.
The participants were carefully selected from applications from different regions of Armenia. As a result of the training, the awareness on human rights and human rights advocacy methods has been raised Through four working days, participants developed skills in the key areas: human rights, human rights protection, fundamental freedoms, and human rights advocacy methods and tools, how to use these methods, tools, and media work. They get information about the problems of national minorities who live in Armenia, the legal issues of the religion organizations, they defined what tolerance is, and what human rights is in general.
During evaluation participants mentioned that before training session they had some stereotypes and often without understanding they might use some discriminating phrases or words, without understanding that it could be hate speech or discrimination. They mentioned that received information and knowledge about the difference of law and right, what are the fundamental freedoms and rights. Participants mentioned that after training, they understand what human rights is and now they know how to protect their and their families’ rights.
WFCE in JOINT PROJECT OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Advocacy Officer, Ms. Vardanova participated in the workshop on “Developments on the prohibition of discrimination in the international and domestic law” in November 28, CoE office in Yerevan. It was a joint project of Council of Europe and European Union in cooperation with The UN Refugee Agency. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss discrimination and suggest mechanisms to prevent it. Representatives of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) presented their specific position about this issue. The lawyers presented their points of view about main problems of discrimination in Armenia and what can be done against it. Almost all the participants were representatives of jurisprudence, there were also representatives from some NGOs and civil society. The most affective development in the discrimination is the Istanbul Convention, which is against domestic violence and violence against women. For WFCE one of the main goals is protect vulnerable groups and this workshop and, in particular, this point gave our organization a lot of experience for future activities.
Adoption of anti-discrimination legislation in Armenia will be the key achievement for WFCE and for the Armenian society. In assistance with governmental and international organizations, we will be able to focus on priorities and do our best to give right information and knowledge to our society and vulnerable groups.
After participation in the workshop, another workshop was organized in WFCE office for the staff and volunteers. After that, one of the volunteers of WFCE, Naira, did a great job to share gained information about discrimination, which she received during the discussions in WFCE office. It was excited, because she organized mini trainings within her friends and acquaintances. We appreciate such a job, as it helps us publicly spread right concepts with the people who have incomplete knowledge and information in this field.
WFCE in HIV and HUMAN RIGHTS Regional Meeting
Regional Workshop on Integrating Human Rights into National Strategic Plans for HIV took place in Yerevan, Armenia, November 24 - 26. The meeting is organized by UNAIDS RST with participation of representatives from Armenia, Moldova, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Belarus and Tajikistan. The main proposes of the meetings are 1. Overview of the HIV epidemic and human rights in the region. 2. What is human rights based and gender equality approach to HIV. 3. Rights based investment and location based approaches.4. Gender responsive and gender transformative HIV response. 5. Design a country plan that integrates human rights programming: setting targets and identifying programmes and activities, costing and budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The meeting is officially launched by UNAIDS RST Director Vinay P. Saldanha, Armenian National AIDS Center Director S. Grigoryan, UNDP RSC Legal Specialist B. Konstantinov, representatives from GFTMA and ECUO. In the meeting second working day in Regional Workshop on Integrating human rights into national strategic plans for HIV, small groups work presentation on Designing a country plan that integrates human rights programming: setting targets and identifying programmes and activities, the result of group discussion of colleagues from Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.
WFCE in EU organized consultation on antidiscrimination issues in Armenia
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Policy Officer, Ms. Soghomonyan participated in Consultation on antidiscrimination issues in Armenia organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, in November 17, 2014. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issues of discrimination in Armenia, to suggest effective mechanisms of prevention of all forms of discrimination and to sum up the CSOs suggestions for supporting the future EU assistance to the area of human rights protection in Armenia. During discussion representatives from different CSOs presented their views about the main problems of adoption of anti-discrimination legislation and the ways how EU can support NGOs and Government in advocating nondiscrimination and tolerance.
The strategic goal of WFCE NGO in protecting human rights of risky and vulnerable people. Such kind of discussions and meetings are very important for our organization, as during such kind of meetings, discussions you understand deeply what kind of activities should be priority. Representatives from the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia presented the main priority with discrimination issues and the ways how CSOs with cooperation of Government and EU can improve situation in Armenia. Such kind of meetings are very important especially discussion about antidiscrimination platform which will figure out all discriminatory issues in Armenia. Representatives of CSOs suggested to make the platform with corporation of Government and that the representatives from NGOs and Government should have equal positions in that platform.
All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities and the suggestions that they give will help all us in our future activities. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE and State Youth Policy
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Policy Officer, Ms. Soghomonyan participated in The state youth policy discussion with youth organizations organized by Youth Studies Institute in Yerevan, Armenia, 13 November. During the meeting representatives from different youth organizations presented their opinions about draft version of new state youth policy. As WFCE mentioned it is very important for youth the support of government and this policy will help to improve youth’s life in Armenia. After summing up all suggestions and comments organizations mentioned that it was very important for them to discuss all points with youth organizations and it will help them to make comments and suggestions for government for improving that document.
WFCE in "Looking FORWARD - 2014"
WFCE participated in the exhibition of youth organizations “Looking Forward-2014” in November 13 – 14. The two-day exhibition was organized by the Youth Foundation of Armenia in the framework of the events dedicated to the youth days and WFCE participation was fully funded by the RA Government. About 70 youth, public and student organizations presented their activities during the 2 working days.
WFCE stuff members presented the main areas of organization activates, presented and free distributed informational and educational materials. RA MoH National Ceneter for AIDS Prevention provided brochures to be distributed during the expo.
The RA Prime Minister Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, Minister of Education and Science Mr. Armen Ashotyan and Member of Armenian Parliament Mr. Karen Avagyan visited WFCE pavilions and get introduced to our activities and programs.
Students, participants, youth worker receive information about different youth organizations, share their experience and plans of future activities. All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, student forums, universities, regions of Armenia they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various communities and the exhibition gave them a chance to share their information about their activities and programs. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE in antidiscrimination conference
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Policy Officer, Ms. Soghomonyan participated in “Conference on Issues of Anti-discrimination” in Congress Hotel, Yerevan, Armenia, November 11, 2014 and organized by Eurasia Partnership Foundation with financial support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The purpose of the Conference was to discuss the issues of discrimination and intolerance both from legal and societal points of view as well as to suggest effective mechanisms of prevention of all forms of discrimination. Invited experts from Moldova and Georgia, countries that recently adopted anti-discrimination bills, introduced the laws and experience of non-discrimination, while representatives of Armenian civil society focused on discrimination cases based on various grounds such as disability, gender and religion in Armenia.
All participants were presenting different non-governmental organizations, they all have different educational and social backgrounds, including members of various minorities’ communities and the knowledge that they received during the conference session they will share in their organizations and in their communities. The active network of civic activists was broadened.
WFCE and conflict avoidance and belligerence
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Policy Officer, Ms. Soghomonyan participated in the training on conflict avoidance and belligerence organized by Civil Society Institute NGO, in Aghveran, Armenia, 7-9 November. During three days training session we studied Glasl's escalation model. Glasl's escalation model is a very useful diagnostic tool for the conflict facilitator, but also valuable as a means for sensitizing people to the mechanisms of conflict escalation. Such sensitizing may lead to a greater awareness of the steps one should take care to avoid if one wants to prevent a conflict from escalating out of control. In a more academic perspective, the model also provides a theory of conflict escalation that emphasizes the situational pressures acting upon people involved in a conflict. According Glasl's escalation model there is 9 stages of conflict.
Conflict is an open clash between two opposing groups or individuals and it has different reasons to emerge. For my personal and professional skills it is very important of understanding conflicts stages and how conflicts could be managed. The main ideology was that the conflict is not as bad as usually people think, sometimes during conflict you can have a good ideas and even more good relationship, but never let conflict to rule you, always try to manage conflict.
During final evaluation all participants mentioned that the training session was very useful and important because in everyday life we meet conflicts, but even do not understand that it is conflict situation and how we can manage it. The personal dimension for WFCE was understanding that conflict are not as bad as we thought and sometimes they even can help, of course if we know how to manage it.
WFCE and Human Rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations
EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project Advocacy Officer, Ms. Vardanova participated in “Human rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations” training organized by Civil Society Institute (CSI), October 27 and 28. The training participants discussed a variety of topics related to human rights, demonstrations and freedom. The meeting was attended by representatives of various non-governmental organizations, journalists and students.
As the participants emphasized the concept of “hate speech” during the training and passed through it rather thoroughly, due to many examples and real stories, the participants understood when the specific situation is or is not the “hate speech”. The participants learned how to behave during demonstrations, what to do when the police takes a person to a police station.
WFCE in UN and RA Police joint rouND TABLE
The Round table discussion was organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Armenia jointly with the Police of the Republic of Armenia.
The discussion with the participation of state officials brought together different governmental agencies and authorities, representatives of international organizations, NGOs and other Civil Society organizations and representatives from Government and NGOs in Georgia and Moldova. The main challenges arising while adopting statelessness determination procedures were discussed during the event. The topic is especially important for Armenia due to the ongoing process of development of draft legislation in Armenia designed to address the protection and identification of stateless persons. It is anticipated that towards the end of 2014, the draft law on statelessness will reach the National Assembly and that, once it is passed, the authorities would begin work on developing detailed guidance to regulate in more detail the stateless determination procedures.
WFCE marched to STOP YEZIDIS GENOCIDE in Iraq
11 September 2014- Yerevan, hundreds of people from Armenia have taken part in a protest against the rampage of the "Islamic State" terror group in northern Iraq where many of Yezidi compatriots have been forced to flee. Thousands of people leaving their ancestral homeland. Women and children being kidnapped, raped, and sold as slaves. Men slaughtered by the dozens.
While this sounds like something from the Armenian Genocide, it is going on in the world as I write. In Northern Iraq, where the Babylonians and Assyrians once ruled vast empires, the Islamic State (IS) has been waging a genocidal war against the defenseless Yazidi people. According to various sources, more than 5,000 people are killed in the town so far, and thousands of others have been displaced.
WFCE shares the concerns of Yazidis living in Armenia. WFCE, alongside with other organizations, marched in Yerevan on Thursday and handed over letters to Russian and French ambassadors as well as to UN office and earlier to the ambassador of U.S..
WFCE recommends OSCE to improve interventions to promote tolerance and equality
Tbilisi, 03–04 September 2014 – The fourth and final regional workshop with representatives of civil society took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, within the framework of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship. Under the banner of "implementing human rights commitments to improve peoples’ lives", around 40 participants from the South Caucasus took part in discussions on the topics of preventing torture, the independence of the judiciary, and discrimination and hate crime. The Swiss ambassador to Georgia, Günther Bächler, opens the workshop together with representatives of partner NGOs.
WFCE formulated recommendations for the OSCE participating States and institutions during the fourth regional workshop. These recommendations addressed to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Didier Burkhalter, at the end of the civil society conference, which will precede the Ministerial Council meeting at the beginning of December 2014 in Basel.
WFCE prioritize enhanced and systematic involvement in different intergovernmental organizations and grateful to OSCE for the invitation.
The religious hatred and violence we are seeing in Iraq, against Christians, Yazidis and other religious groups is deeply shocking. The plight of the Yazidi community in Iraq is of a special concern, the besieged Yazidi minority could be wiped out. Hundreds of people from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive, slavery and rape are being used as weapons of war by so-called Islamic State (Isis) against Yazidi and Christian women and tens of thousands residents of the Yazidi community have been forced to flee their homes in northern Iraq.
We are gravely concerned by the continued reports of the acts of violence from Iraq, including violence against people belonging to Iraqi minorities. This is another critical situation where people are killed and persecuted simply because of the beliefs they profess.
The dramatic situation of the the Yazidis, and other minority religious and ethnic communities in Iraq demands that human rights activists and all people of good will now take a proactive and clear stance. We all must be unanimous in our unambiguous condemnation of the crimes against the Yazidis and other groups in Iraq and denounce the invoking of religion or any other ground to justify them.
Everyone, including the members of every armed group in Iraq, needs to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and the perpetrators of potential crimes against humanity need to be held accountable for their actions.
Everyone must speak out against the killing of religious minorities, we must also mobilise resources for humanitarian aid, and support for refugees from Iraq. Finally, we should mobilise transnational human rights movements to use all international instruments to name and shame perpetrators.
The WFCE calls upon all parties to the conflict in Iraq and upon the international community to take immediate action to protect civilians who are facing imminent death in Iraq today. We call upon political, religious and community leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. We believe, that this kind of action can make a difference.
WFCE FORMER PROGRAMS OFFICER IS APPOINTED DEPUTY hUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER
WFCE welcomes the appointment of Ms. Tatevik Khachatryan, former Policy Officer of WFCE, as the Deputy Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia on Economic and Social Rights. Ms. Khachatryan’s experience in the human rights field and especially vulnerable and risky groups issues make her a very good representative for dealing with an increasingly complex reality in Armenia.
WFCE wishes her every success in carrying out the important missions entrusted to her. We are convinced that Ms. Khachatryan will promote the role of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia and will speak out for the most vulnerable and risky groups. We look forward to continue working closely with Ms. Khachatryan, in pushing for Armenia to enact adequate anti-discrimination laws and policies to support human rights, and in pushing for the Ombudsman’s office and civil society activists themselves to be open and accessible to everyone in need.
WFCE signed Aids 2014 melbourne declaration
We, the signatories and endorsers of this Declaration, affirm that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based, rights-based and gender transformative response to HIV and effective public health programmes.
To defeat HIV and achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support – nobody should be criminalized or discriminated against because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability, religious or spiritual beliefs, country of origin, national status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a sex worker, prisoner or detainee, because they use or have used illicit drugs or because they are living with HIV.
In conclusion we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to fairness, to universal access to health care and treatment services, and to support the inherent dignity and rights of all human beings. All people are entitled to the rights and protections afforded by international human rights frameworks.
An end to AIDS is only possible if we overcome the barriers of criminalization, stigma and discrimination that remain key drivers of the epidemic.
Mainstreaming Protection in Emergency Responses
WFCE was invited to take part in 2 days workshop on mainstreaming protection organized jointly by UNHCR, UNICEF and OCHA on 31 July-01 August.
The workshop was designed to create greater awareness and ethical responsibility of humanitarian actions to incorporate protection principles in emergency response programs and to ensure that safety, dignity and rights of affected individuals are addressed along with their material needs.
The workshop facilitated sharing of knowledge and experience between key protection and emergency response actors in Armenia and provide with knowledge and practical tools on how to mainstream protection in the emergency responses plan.
WFCE and consultation on the area of anti-discrimination
Consultation on the area of gender and anti-discrimination was organized by the EU Delegation to Armenia with the aim to support the analysis of future EU assistance to the area of human rights protection in Armenia. The consultation is a precursor to a broader online consultation of civil society in Armenia, to be done through the online consultation tool. It was emphasized that only a few most visible and important NGOs working in the respective area were invited and broader consultations will follow through the online consultation. The following problems were discussed:
1) Problems in the area of gender and anti-discrimination;
2) Civic activists’ ideas on ways of addressing these problems through the efforts of different stakeholders (including government, civil society and others).
The EU delegation expressed its wish to obtain a joint analysis on reform measures that are needed to improve the situation in the next three years.
We consider such negotiation as one of the most effective tools to promote anti-discrimination legislation adoption, human rights values, civil equality and tolerance in Armenia. The voice of EU Delegation will sound there where our voice cannot reach. Therefore, it is very important to equip EU officers with information on the most burning issues we face today in our work.
WFCE TRAINING ON
This training is another benchmark of WFCE activity aimed at encouraging and facilitating the promotion of respect for and awareness of human rights ad antidiscrimination through education and training. The training offered deep insight into variety of skills relevant to the work of human rights advocates. It provided up-to-date information on the latest developments in civic engagement with human rights to civil society actors from different parts/regions of Armenia. WFCE always ensures balanced participation list, which includes various representatives of different social groups, including minority groups and media representatives. The training was held by experienced and well-known human rights educators who shared their experience and knowledge with the participants carefully selected sent in response to the open call, made by WFCE. As a result of the training the awareness on newest advocacy methods has been raised, advocacy skills has been developed, the network of the human rights activists has been widened, which is an important factor of future consolidated for anti-discrimination legislation advocacy efforts in Armenia.
WFCE TRAINING FOR EUROPEAN NETWORK OF EQUALITY BODIES.
WFCE was delighted to deliver a session about bulling at formal educational settings at Equinet (European Network of Equality Bodies) training on LGBT issues. Our Advocacy programs officer facilitated the session in Stockholm June 16-18, 2014.
This training strived to provide equality body staff members with a space for peer learning and for discussing key challenges as well as good practices in the field.
This training was dedicated to an audience of approximately 50 staff members of equality bodies with responsibilities in dealing with human righst issues. The training program allowed for participation with different professional backgrounds, including legal, policy and communication experts.
The training provided a useful platform for discussing recent legal and policy developments concerning equality in Europe. We are grateful for Equinet input, which offered a valued and insightful contribution to the fruitful exchanges and inspirational debates. The topic of this training is of great importance for national equality bodies and we are convinced that this event helped equality body staff to further develop their knowledge and understanding of the needs, challenges and possible solutions to ensure equality. The positive feedback received from the participants underlines the relevance and quality of your inspirational contribution to the training.
NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US- UNLEASHING YOUTH LEADERSHIP TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGE OF HIV IN EUROPE
UNAIDS organized consultation jointly with youth organizations and hosted by UNAIDS in Geneva, 15-16 July 2014. WFCE was excited to be a part of steering committee of the consultation. Our Advocacy Programs officer was invited as an Eastern European young expert on HIV and human rights issues.
The objectives of the consultations were:
To empower young activists to become champions of HIV and human rights in their communities and organizations.
WFCE AND EU DELEGATION TO ARMENIA
On June 26, President of the WFCE NGO, as well as WFCE Policy Programs Officer, WFCE Advocacy Programs Officer, and WFCE Community Programs Officer had a meeting with Mr. Dirk Lorenz, Head of Political, Economic, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia at the headquarters of the Delegation of the European Union in Yerevan.
The WFCE team wished the EU Delagation staff success in their everyday activities of strengthening and promoting the Armenia-EU relations and expressed confidence that the Armenia-EU relations will continue to advance for the benefit of the well-being of the Armenian people.
Then WFCE team introduced the organization, outlined the main pillars of the WFCE’s policy and described our activities, particulary those implemented and planned in framework of the EED funded “Youth Dialogue for Diversity” project. Mr. Lorenz expressed his interest in our mission and desire to support the WFCE’s activities in promoting European values and human rights thinking and action in Armenia.
In particular, Mr. Lorenz and WFCE staff discussed the possible future of the anti-discrimination legal initiatives developed by the civil society representatives, including the WFCE’s NGO proposal prepared during the active phase of negotiations around this new law. Both Mr. Lorenz and WFCE staff expressed their regret about the halting of the process of the adoption of the antidiscrimination law in Armenia and exchanged their views on further steps towards absolute rejection of any kind of discrimination in Armenian society.
At the end of the meeting, the Mr. Lorenz and WFCE team exchanged their views and ideas on further contacts and cooperation as well as assurances of mutual understanding and support.
WFCE Boosting Human right culture through Armenian-Swedish Relation
On June 17, 2014, President of the WFCE NGO, as well as WFCE’s Policy Programs Officer, and Community Programs Officer had a meeting with Ms. Martina QUICK, Chargé d'affaires at newly opened Embassy of Sweden in Armenia.
On behalf of the WFCE members, the staff welcomed the opening of a permanent Embassy in Yerevan and wished the staff success in their everyday activities of strengthening and promoting the Armenian-Swedish relations and expressed confidence that the Armenian-Swedish relations will continue to advance for the benefit of the well-being of the Armenian people.
Then the main pillars of the WFCE’s policy and activities were described. Ms. Quick expressed her interest in WFCE mission and desire to support the WFCE activities in promoting European values and human rights thinking and action in Armenia. Some other important issues of human rights field in Armenia were then briefly outlined. At the end of the meeting, the Ms. Quick and WFCE staff members exchanged their views and ideas on further contacts and cooperation as well as assurances of mutual understanding and support.
WFCE IN BERLIN: STRENGTHENING THE BONES WITH OTHER YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS IN EUROPE
Youth organizations and networks hosted an Open Meeting with Youth-led Organizations, Networks and Movements on 24-28 April in Berlin, the meeting brought together representatives of the 10 young activists from youth led organizations, networks and movements from European region. The aim was to identify ways in which the movements on youth development could better work with and for young people, present the rationale for and components of European Action Plan on Youth, to find innovative ways to partner with young people in the implementation of the Action Plan on Youth, and to discuss options to strengthen institutional mechanisms for meaningful youth participation in European Institutions and contribution to the implementation and monitoring of European activities and actions on youth. The main outcome of the meeting is an agreement between youth-led organizations on structured ways for partnerships, collaboration and participation. Additional outcomes include recommendations for strengthening communication and guidelines to address the realities of marginalized young people, particularly youth from marginalized groups and minority background, in programmers to implement the European Action Plan on Youth.
WFCE AND COMMUNITY CANDLELIGHT
This year WFCE marked AIDS candlelight along with its partner NGO “MSM Armenia” in the Downtown of Yerevan city. The public event aimed to mobilize young people on HIV/AIDS prevention. 18 May 2014, activist around the different region of Armenia hosted local community events to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. While there has been made much effort in improving the lives of people living with HIV and communities affected by HIV, there are still many barriers to be overcome, even in the richest countries One of the attendants said “For many, access to treatment, care and support is challenging at best, and in some cases, it is impossible for people to access these services. This happens because of stigma and discrimination against key populations. Whilst we have come a long way, there is still a lot more work to do.” This annual mobilization campaign has been taking place every year since 1983, led by coalition of community organizations globally. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Let’s keep the light on HIV’.
WFCE IN MOLDOVA: HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOUTH CAUCASUS: POLITICIZED ATTITUDE AND CULTURAL CHOICE
WFCE participated in the Human Rights Regional conference in Moldova, may 15-19. Those who advocate for the human rights are confronted with traditional society’s conservative stereotypes. Those who challenge the traditional social and family structures are perceived by many as enemies of the state and sustainable social order. Minority rights issues are either not discussed at all or discussed in a very uneducated and emotional way. Unfortunately, one cannot blame Soviet Union legacy anymore, the additional intolerance comes from fear that some alien rules and norms would destroy national mentality, religion, family values which are the main pillars of the national stability and unity. It is noteworthy to add that in all three countries with their unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts the anti-diversity rhetoric of “one nation, one religion, one culture” concept is the mainstream philosophy and perceived as the only true one. The idea of patriarchy and masculine characteristics of a true motherland defender dominates over diversity and equity concepts. It is believed by many that human rights issues are brought in and paid by outside enemies, who want to destroy the most sacred values of the given societies.
WFCE IN ADDRESSING PROTECTION CHALLENGES IN ARMENIA
WFCE together with RA Ministry of Justice, RA ministry of Diaspora, National Security Service, RA Police, RA Public Defender’s Office, RA Ombudsman Office, US Embassy in Yerevan, IOM, UNICEF, WFP, EU Advisory Group in Yerevan, RA State Migration service, RA State Employment Service Agency, Armenian Red Cross Society, Civil Society Institute and other stakeholders participated in the Protection Working Meeting host by UNHCR. In response to the challenges therefore, and particularly with a view to strengthening the partnership approach towards addressing the protection challenges, UNHCR decided to organize a two day protection workshop, which brought together more than 60 participants from 35 agencies of government, iternational organisations, NGOs, academia.
WORKSHOP ON THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF
a. The two-day workshop was dedicated to the presentation of the historical overview and current situation in Armenia in relation to freedom of religion and belief, ethical standards of media coverage of the related topics and technical legal issues of implementation of the respective provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. Four experts, gave presentations on the Armenian reality, historical heritage and European standards regulating freedom of religion and belief. The presenters were: Avetik Ishkhanyan, Head of the Helsinki Committee (Armenia), Mesrop Harutyunyan, writer, journalist, media expert, Manvel Sargsyan, political; analyst and Deputy Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies and Ara Ghazaryan, lawyer, known for great number of cases he supports against Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights.
WFCE On Organizational Strategic Development
WFCE and 11 other youth-led organizations with a shared goal of tackling HIV and AIDS in our communities in innovative and creative ways were delighted to take part in Organizational Development Training organized by MTV Staying Alive Restless Development Foundations. This 10-day workshop was held in Kenya and attended by 22 participants representing organizations from across 11 countries.
The workshop ended with participants working with their Restless mentor to develop a 6-month Action Plan to support us to share our new knowledge and skills on Financial Management, Fundraising, Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation with our organizations to in turn enhance our organizational capacity in order to deliver high quality work.
As a follow up WFCE organized 4 day workshop for young HIV activists on organizational development on 13-16 of April. The aim of the workshop was to build the capacity of young activists’ organizations to plan, deliver, measure and communicate their work more effectively, through the development of participants’ knowledge and skills in five key areas. These included Organizational Strategy & Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation, Financial Management, and Resource Mobilization & Partnerships. The workshop was energetic, practical and participant-focused and enabled participants to draw on their own experiences, learn from each other and use that to inform their own learning.
WORKING MEETING ON ADVOCATING PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF MINORITIES AND VULNERABLE GROUPS RIGHTS
As a part advocating promotion and protection of minorities and vulnerable groups rights, We for Civil Equality NGO, together with partner organizations and experts from Ukraine held 4 days Working Meeting, which took place on 13 and 16 April in Aghveran, Kotayk Region, Armenia. The goal of this working meeting was better organize and response the vital problems of minorities representing persons linked to their rights to access legal, social and healthcare services and the need to fully implement and protect the human rights of minorities persons in Armenia were discussed.
During the open and interactive working meeting, participants representing minorities groups, communities, civil society and governmental institutions, had the chance to learn more about the challenges related to human rights promotion, protection, social and outreach work, its essence and particularities, as well as how to work on diminishing the prejudice and stereotypes against minorities persons, and adopt a more sensitized approach to the minorities persons who have been subjected to human rights violations in relation to their right and how to help those victims.
Facilitators of the training are the experts in the field of legal, social and healthcare work and the human rights of minorities persons as well as the minorities activists from Armenia and Ukraine: Tatyana Mikhalchuk, Lesya Khmel, Ashot Gevorgyan and Karen Badalyan.
the Rights of convict women and implementation of Bangkok Rules in Armenia
EED funded "Youth Dialogue for Diversity" Program Officer Evgenia IVANOVA participated in training on the Rights of convict women and implementation of Bangkok Rules in Armenia. The training took place at Aghveran resort, Armenia, on 22-23 February 2014.First part of the training was dedicated to the presentation of the current situation in Armenia in relation to convict women held at the Abovyan Penitentiary Institution, the only institution where women are kept in Armenia. Two experts, David Tumasyan and Tigran Safaryan, gave presentations on the Armenian Law and Practice as well as international rules regulating minimum standards of for the Treatment of Women Prisoners. The main problems were then discussed and a practical task was distributed among the participants. During the practical part of the training all the participants were divided into 5 groups, with balanced representation of journalists, human rights activists, members of various monitoring commissions and a instructor - representative of the host organization, “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO. The groups had to prepare various monitoring tools for a model monitoring at the Abovyan Penitentiary Institution, such as questionnaires, monitoring cards, outlines for interviews with convicts and staff members and then perfo0rm a model monitoring.
RA Prime Minister visited WFCE pavilion
We For Civil Equality NGO is participating in NGO Expo in Armenia, from November 12 to 14. WFCE participation is fully supported by Armenian Youth Foundation. The Expo is organized in Armenian Government Hall and has a title "A Look to the future" expo- conference. Mr. Tigran SARGSYAN, the RA Prime Minister attended the exhibition opening ceremony, he walked around the pavilion, got acquainted with the activities of civil society. He also visited WFCE pavilion and the work of WFCE, our mission, main activities and acting targets were presented to the Prime Minister and RA Government other representatives, RA Parliament Members.
The expo "A Look to the future” is focused on visiting of heads of civil society, the scientific employees practicing specialist, and also donors, investors, businessmen, the experts working in the NGO market and services. The expo is a unique possibility to hear opinion and recommendations of leading experts in various areas, to plan ways of the decision of the problems most sharply put by today's practice in all areas of public services. It will promote search of new partners, active development and expansion of contacts between all participants. More than 60 NGOs, international organizations, Student Councils from Yerevan and regions, are participating in expo- conference. A guide will be published representing participants NGOs, as well as Youth Policy Paper will be adopted as the result of 3 days expo-conference.
WFCE express its thankfulness to RA Government and Youth Foundation of Armenia for making our participation possible and voices heard.
WFCE organized National stakeholders consolidation meeting
We for Civil Equality NGO is continuing the implementation of the EU funded “Broader Introduction of Effective HIV Prevention Strategies Targeting Populations at Most Risk in the ENPI-East Region” project in Armenia. The three years regiona…l project is implemented by partner NGOs in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine as the lead partner.
A National Stakeholders Consolidation Meeting on “Sustainability of comprehensive package of services related to HIV for IDU, SW and MSM” has taken place from 5-6 November in Yerevan. The meeting was organized in close collaboration with the RA National Center for AIDS Prevention, RA Human Rights Defender Office and Ra Ministry of Health. 45 leading specialists representing RA Government, RA Police, RA Human Rights Defender Office, EU Delegation to Armenia, Civil Society national and international organizations participated in the meeting. During the 2 working days, a draft of the outreach comprehensive package of services for MSM, IDU and SW target groups was discussed. Specialists explained that the biggest problems and obstacles are:
WFCE Initiative is welcomed by the EU Delegation to Armenia
Mr. Jose Maria MEDINA NAVARRO, the Deputy Head of Operations of the EU Delegation to Armenia, welcomed the National Stakeholders Consolidation Meeting participants. “This project is in line with the European priorities and regional needs, a…nd is a result of a long-term HIV/AIDS response programming in each of the target countries. The EU will continue the funding of social and health-related programmes in Armenia”, underlined Mr. MEDINA NAVARRO in his opening speech.
WFCE is developing national Advocacy action plan
Ms. Lesya KHMEL, the Project Operational Manager, has welcomed the national initiative participants and shared the regional expertise from the perspective of best practices. She introduced the past two years outcomes and overall results and… has appointed the key elements for the next and final project year priorities. She also presented Comprehensive package of services related to HIV for vulnerable groups (IDU, SW, MSM) and mentioned the progress and successful implementation of the project objectives in Armenia. Dr. Karen BADALYAN, the President of We for Civil Equality NGO, said that on the basis of the offered packages assessment of services and their accessibility for the MSM, IDU and SW groups, the outreach activities strategies and mechanisms will be revised and proposed for the inclusion into national healthcare policies.
WFCE is joining the World Hepatitis Day actions in Armenia
"AIDS Advocacy group" is organizing public events in framework of World Hepatitis Day, on July 24 and 28.
On July 24 at 10:00 am the group's activists will march to "Hoffman-LA ROCHE" company representative office in Armenia (Armenia, 0002, Yerevan, Abovyan St., 35/11 Building), with the request to review the Hepatitis C treatment drug pricing policy. Then the participants will reach to the Ministry of Health, with …another letter reflected on the problems in the area of hepatitis. The march will end "Henaran" Club where a press conference will be organized on the day results, as well as July 28 events will be presented.
On July 28, at 11:00 in Lovers' Park will host another event, which once again will focus on hepatitis problem. In conjunction with Hepatitis World Alliance new Guinness record, “this is hepatitis. Know it. Confront it” an action within a minimum of 25 participants will be shown at the same time "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" action.
wfce in kotayk region of armenia
WFCE staff and volunteers visited "Eghvard" -Environmental Youth NGO which is working in Nairi Region of Kotayk Marz of Armenia. WFCE representatives conducted a training on "Human Rights and HR European / National Mechanisms" for "Eghvard. Training on "Human Rights and HR European / National Mechanisms" for "Eghvard" NGO staff and members conducted by WFCE. The training was organized by the Naira Harutyunyan, participant of "Human Rights and Diversity" WFCE TP, 2nd Group.
wfce and aurhus center coolaboration
WFCE staff and volunteers visited the “Aurhus Center of Hrazdan” which is working in Kotayk Marz of Armenia (one of 11 administrative regions) and situated in Municipality of Hrazdan city, February 29th. WFCE representatives conducted a training on "Human Rights and HR European / National Mechanisms" for staff and members of “Aurhus Center of Hrazdan”. The meeting was very productive and WFCE will continue its partnership with youth living in Armenia’s Regions for the constructive YOUTH DIALOGUE.
wfce in idjevan city of armenia
WFCE Staff and volunteers form HRD 1 group organized a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Youth Tavush" NGO in Idjevan city of Armenia. Youth activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the young human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia.
wfce in gavar city of armenia
NEW DESTINATION!!! WFCE Staff and volunteers from HRD 2 group are in another region of Armenia to conduct a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Dignity Generationr" NGO in GAVAR city of Armenia. Activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the local human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia
wfce in mecamor city of armenia
And now WFCE Staff and volunteers from HRD group are in another region of Armenia to conduct a training on human rights and diversity for the members of "Hope od Metsamor" NGO in Metsamor city of Armenia. Activists from local organizations also have been invited to WFCE training. This is a successful implementation of WFCE long term goal on promoting of diversity in Armenia and thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the local human rights activists we are proving our work for real social changes and our being of leader in promotion of diversity in Armenia.
wfce and culture
WFCE in partnership with YNU - Yezidi National Union in armenia organized Minorities Cultural Event in framework of cultural days. Welcome speech by Karen Badalyan, the President of We for Civil Equality NGO, The chair of Ukrainian National Minority organization congratulates our participants, the representative of CDPF (Civic development and partnership foundation) congratulates our participants and speak about their programs on minority issues and further partnership between our organizations. The Vice Chair of International Academy of Lawyers and Psychologists and the alumni of WFCE training program welcomes our event and congratulates our participants.
Environmental activism is our core value
With "fantastic" mission to one of the most mountains part in Nordic Armenia, where only this type of car could reach the place. Environmental activists - "Save the Thrchkan Fall"!
WFCE in EU Newsletter
National Consultation entitled on HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy was held in Yerevan. As a result of three days of discussions on predicaments faced by vulnerable groups (injecting drug users, women providing commercial sexual activities and men who have sex with men), a preliminary plan for a national HIV strategy aimed at protecting their interests was developed.
Among the issues raised were free medical treatment for sexually transmitted infections, the absence of the opportunity for quick, 5-minute response HIV testing (in Armenia it takes several days), and high levels of discrimination towards vulnerable groups (exacerbated by the lack of legislation in Armenia regulating service provision for vulnerable groups). During the consultation it became clear that representatives of vulnerable groups were not accessing services at medical institutions due to discrimination; there have been cases when the medical staff have offered poor quality services or even refused.
As a primary means of eliminating discrimination, seminar participants highlighted legislative reforms and informational and public awareness raising, not only on HIV but also on vulnerable groups.
Effective activities put forward to prevent HIV infection included mobile laboratories, voluntary consultancy and diagnostic services.
During the press conference following the seminar, the president of the “We for Civil Equality” NGO, Karen Badalian, focused on the Human Rights Defender’s Office, saying it had put forward a draft law which would provide mechanisms for the restoration of rights and the elimination of discrimination.
The Consultation was held within the framework of the three-year, EU-funded “Broader Introduction of Effective HIV Prevention Strategies Targeting Populations at Most Risk in the ENPI-East Region” project. The principal project beneficiaries include IDU, CSW and MSM.
This regional project is implemented by the HIV/AIDS Alliance International in Ukraine. Partner organisations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine are involved in project activites. In Armenia, the project partner is the “We for Civil Equality” NGO.
WFCE organized international Human Rights Training in Armenia
The First Canadian EQUITAS Model Training Participants in Armenia, co-organized by World Vision Armenia and WFCE with close partnership with the Armenian Ombudsmen Office and EQUITAS International Center for Human Rights Education. The first International Human Rights Training Program was organized in Armenia with the Canadian EQUITAS (Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education) model by the participatory approach. The training was organized in close partnership of World Vision Armenia and We For Civil Equality (WFCE) NGO. The supporters of the training were Civil Society Institute (Armenia) and (RA Human Rights' Defender Staff). There were around 25 participants representing Armenia based NGOs working in area of Human Rights Protection and Education. In the end all participants got an international diploma and became members of the biggest Human Rights activists family-EQUITAS.
Many thanks to Nana Boukoushian for the video.
WFCE new human rights ambassador
WFCE is happy to announce about launching of a new program with long-term strategy in promotion of Human Rights and Diversity in Armenia. We are establishing a new institution of «Diversity Model» and «Diversity Ambassador». All those indivuduals and organizations that will take part in the activities of WFCE- will come up with initiatives, volunteer works and will, thus, contribute to the promotion of diversity in Armenia, will be certified as a «Diversity Model» or «Diversity Ambassador». The first candidates will be 45 praticipants of the Human Rights and Diversity training program, who later should realize initiatives in the sphere of Human Rights and Diversity, on bases of which they will later be given the abovementioned titles.
WFCE is leading new model training
The training on peer outreach and development of the referral system created the most favorable conditions to ensure the maximum openness in the delivering of the preventive activities. The training participants were explained that the data obtained from the several workshops and group discussions would be analyzed in the context of the whole target MSM and TG, and would not be linked back to persons or one outreach work. The participants were informed on the importance of their responses and were encouraged to provide accurate responses on their activities and daily work within their organization. These approaches, training rules and gained skills and knowledge help WFCE to create a favorable and trustful platform to start the dialogue on referral system building and strengthening.
WFCE and USAAA
WFCE staff and volunteers participated in round table on programs funded by US Alumni Association of Armenia. More than 40 graduates of different programs have been funded within 2 years of the USAAA operation. Books, IEC materials have been published, conferences summer schools, seminars and discussions have been organized and new sites are created in frameworks of programs. The event was productive for both WFCE and USAAA to share experiences and to learn from each other.
WFCE Balloons for peace and dialogue
WFCE staff, members and volunteers participated last Saturday in a series of workshops and presentations organized at the CSI office. The participants organized a special campaign by letting colorful balloons into the air, with each balloon symbolizing peace, diversity and youth dialogue. This was a unique public action in Armenia and WFCE will always promote such kind of activities in our country.
wfce in rural areas
WFCE is continuing its strategy on promoting Human Rights, equality and diversity among national and ethnic minorities, here are some photos form our new visits to the rural areas inhabited by representatives of national and ethnic minorities.
wfce and osce
YEREVAN, April 27. OSCE Office in Yerevan organized today a working meeting on the rights of national minorities in Armenia.
Representatives from the RA Government, RA Human Rights Defender’s Office and national minority organizations/communities were present at the meeting.
“Knowledge of the national legislative provisions and international standards is important for ensuring the protection of the rights of national minorities, I hope that today’s discussion will help us to be better informed about all the activities and measures undertaken by different actors, both state and civic, in this regard,” said Vladimir Tchountoulov, Human Rights Officer of the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
Participants were also presented with a compilation on the rights of national minorities in Armenia prepared by OSCE Office in Yerevan. The electronic version of the publication is available only in Armenian, at www.osce.org/yerevan.
We for Civil Equality (WFCE) NGO participated in the meeting since WFCE attaches special importance of initiatives of this kind and welcomes the initiative of the OSCE Office in Yerevan to publish this extensive publication on minority rights in Armenia.
WFCE training for student council
WFCE Staff and active volunteers organized a training on human rights. diversity and youth participation in society at the Student Council of Abovyan city, Kotayk region of Armenia. Thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the young human rights activists and the hosts, the meeting was a success. New thoughts, new ideas and new resources to promote dialogue for diversity in Armenia!
wfce new research
WFCE has conducted HIV Behavioral Survey among MSM in Armenia. The aim of the survey carried out by We for Civil Equality NGO is to collect and analyze data on risky behavior among MSM and, based on this, make suggestions that would improve the health of MSM communities' representatives and reduce HIV risks among MSM. To ask the copy please contact our HIV/AIDS Prevention Programs officer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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