Alternative report on Armenia’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

ADC “Memorial” in partnership with the Civil Society Institute (Armenia) has submitted to the 92th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Alternative report that point out the existing discrimination of ethnic minorities in Armenia.

As a participant in the Eastern Partnership preparing for association with European Union Armenia has obligations to adopt and improve its legislation and practices on combatting discrimination, corruption, and equality. However, Armenia still lacks and adequate legal framework to fight racial discrimination. In the Armenian law, there is no clear definition of racism and direct or indirect racial discrimination, and no clear anti-discrimination law.

The lack of an adequate legal framework along with the predominance of strong cultural and social stereotypes as well as the existence of a national preference leads to the perpetuation of racial discrimination in the country towards ethnic minorities. Unpunished racist declarations against ethnic minorities are not rare in media and on the internet. Yezidi, Bosha or Molokan people are often discriminated and considered as second rank citizens, although they have been living on the Armenian territories for centuries. Ethnic discrimination also concerns people arriving on the Armenian territory. There exists what can be called ethnic profiling when it comes to the grant of the refugee status, as people from non-Armenian origins are rarely granted the refugee status. People of non-Armenian origins living on the Armenian territory also suffer discrimination in the public space, in education. Although the Armenian constitution guarantees the secularity of the educational institutions, pupils of schools have a mandatory course called “The History of the Armenian Church” that is not secular.