Armenia’s International Community Honoured Rights Advocates

Jun 23, 2016

Photo credit: (c) EU Delegation to Armenia

Yerevan, Armenia – The U.S. Embassy, Delegation of the European Union to Armenia, British Embassy, OSCE Office in Yerevan, Council of Europe Office in Yerevan and the United Nations Armenia Office honoured individuals working to promote human rights, accountable governance, rule of law, local government reform, rights of women, inclusion and free speech in Armenia at the Universal Rights Awards Ceremony at the Congress Hotel in Yerevan. Since 2012, the Universal Rights Awards Ceremony was the first initiative of the international community to highlight contributions of Armenia’s civil and political rights activists, government officials, media and civil society representatives to the promotion of human rights. Armenian officials, foreign diplomats, civil society and press representatives attended the event.  

H. E. Richard Mills, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Armenia presented the "Media Excellence" Award to Photolure. "When the press puts attention on human rights, the people start talking and demanding change and action. The press serves as a channel, helping the public make their case and giving the government an insight into the needs of the people. And powerful photos can forward that conversation as much as well-crafted editorials. For its commitment to true, detached journalistic professionalism, I am honored to present this year’s Media Excellence Award to Photolure," said Ambassador Mills.

H. E. Piotr A. Świtalski, Ambassador and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia awarded the Lori District Court judge Ms Narine Hovakimyan with the new "Promoting Justice for All" Award. "The European Union commends the judge Narine Hovakimyan in recognition of her courageous efforts to ensure independent judiciary in the Republic of Armenia", said Ambassador Świtalski.

H. M. Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Judith Farnworth gave the "Freedom Defender" award. “Domestic observation contributes directly to the promotion and protection of human rights. It can improve the electoral culture and promote the integrity of the electoral processes.  I am delighted to announce that the Freedom Defender award this year goes to a group of Citizen Observers in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the electoral transparency,” said the Ambassador.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim, Mr Cristoph Bierwirth presented the "Government Reformer" award. “It is my pleasure to present the Government Reformer Award to the First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development Mr. Vache Terteryan, whose thought leadership and outstanding commitment have been crucial in the advancement and implementation of the local governance reform in Armenia, and in making significant improvements in the Law on Alternative Service,” said Mr. Bierwirth.

The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Ms. Natalia Voutova handed over the "Promoting Inclusion" awarded. "Zaruhi Batoyan has done an impressive work in breaking taboos and changing public and societal attitudes towards disability. Fight against prejudice towards disability is among the most important missions of the Council of Europe. By integrating and including disabled children and youth into the society, Ms. Batoyan has made significant contribution in guaranteeing that disabled individuals and their families are not segregated and their rights are protected. The work of Ms. Batoyan as to how the public sees disability is to be highly praised. Hence, on behalf of the Council of Europe, it is an honor and pleasure for me to hand over this prize to Ms. Batoyan, as my organisation is working towards one and the same goal," said Ms. Voutova.

Ambassador Argo Avakov, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, presented “Woman of Courage” award to Ms. Jemma Hasratyan. "The OSCE is pleased to present the Woman of Courage award to Ms. Jemma Hasratyan in recognition of her outstanding work in promoting equal rights and equal opportunities for men and women in Armenia. Ms. Hasratyan is a highly active, well-respected public figure who has tirelessly sought to enhance women’s role in society and promoted democratic values. As a founder and president of the Armenian Association of Women with University Education NGO Ms. Hasratyan has shown consistency and proactive approach in advancing women’s involvement in political life and decision-making processes," said Ambassador Avakov.

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