On September 11 an annual meeting of the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM) of OSCE ODIHR was launched in Warsaw. At the meeting Armenian civil society was represented by three non-governmental organizations, position of official Yerevan was presented by Deputy permanent representative of Armenia to the OSCE Vahe Gevorgyan.
The latter, responding to the problems presented by Armenian civil society, tried to distort the content of the speech by Daniel Ioannisyan, Programmes Coordinator at the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, at the OSCE platform.
In his speech Ioannisyan, speaking of persecution of peaceful demonstrators in Armenia, presented police violence and their impunity during the protests in Yerevan in June 2015 and July 2016.
«There are peaceful demonstrators in Armenia, who have been in prison for more than a year, while no person has been punished who made abuse of special means and violent force against peaceful demonstrators and journalists in June 2015 and July 2016. As a result many people in Armenia began to be afraid of participation in peaceful demonstrations because they have no reason to think that they will not be poisoned with tire gas, will not get burns or shrapnel injuries from flash-bang grenades, they will not appear in jail as it happenned with hundreds of exceptionally peaceful demonstrators in the last two years», said Ioannisyan [2:21:20].
However, responding to the statements of Armenian civil society representatives Vahe Gevorgyan, representing Armenia in OSCE, distorted Ioannisyan’s statement.
«OSCE commitments should be reference points for our dialogue and there is no OSCE commitment on protecting armed rebellion. It is not my definition, it is a definition pronounced by Mister Ioannisyan yesterday. And I borrowed his word to show the seizure of police station to present as freedom of expression. One can hardly find any OSCE participating state who will consider armed people perpetrating killings of number of policemen and other people assisting them as peaceful protest», said mister Gevorgyan in his speech [3:12:40].
Though the diplomat mentions Ioannisyan’s speech on the previous day, it was mainly about anti-democratic propaganda in Armenia and there was no assessment of the activity of armed groups.
Thus, the representative of Armenian government has thrown the delegates participating in the meeting into confusion. Gevorgyan tried to create an impression that in reality police actions were directed not against peaceful demonstrators but against the armed group. As a result he identified peaceful demonstrators with the armed group justifying the disproportionate force applied to peaceful demonstrators in Armenia.
It is worth reminding that 237 peaceful demonstrators were detained during “Electricer Yerevan” in June 2015, about 770 peaceful demonstrators were taken to police stations in July 2016.
Moreover, in summer of 2016 the police used disproportionate force and special measures against journalists and peaceful demonstrators, which resulted in more than 100 peaceful demonstrators being injured at different degrees and hospitalized.