Armenia: Front Line Defenders awarded a security grant to the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly

In February 2012, we awarded a grant through our security grants programme to the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly in Armenia.

The Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (HCAV) was established in 1998 and registered in 2001. The organization is active in three main areas – human rights, peace-building and advocacy.

HCA Vanadzor is involved in monitoring human rights in closed and semi-closed institutions, including the armed forces, mental health institutions, and penitentiaries. It monitors and compiles reports on deaths within the Armenian armed forces and on cases of alleged ill-treatment and torture by the police. Where abuses are considered to have occurred, HCAV conducts strategic litigation against the relevant authority.

On 16th April 2012, a protest against the organisation became violent, with protestors invading the office and others throwing stones and eggs at the building. One of the stones broke a window and injured a staff member. According to the organisation: “Only due to the outdoors and indoors camera was it possible to identify the person who threw that very stone. Later the recordings served as proofs against some of the protestors.”