Between 12 and 16 September, the RWI team of six colleagues and three international experts travelled to Yerevan, Armenia, to support RWI activities in the country.
If the visit was made challenging due to the context of escalating violence in the region, it was productive in strengthening local partnerships and furthering the implementation of international human rights standards in Armenia.
The RWI team held a number of events and implementation activities engaging with local partners and stakeholders such as the Ministry of Justice, the Academy of Justice, the office of Human Rights Defender and American University of Armenia
Advancing RWI’s partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the team notably introduced international human rights standard, UN Nelson Mandela Rules, to representatives of all prisons in Armenia and by assisted local judges and prosecutors to better identify and address the occurrence of torture in Armenian society, by using RWI’s Guidelines to interpret and apply the element of severe pain in the definition of torture.
The visit also reinforced cooperation with the American University of Armenia and led to the establishing of new contacts with other universities in Yerevan and in the regions, contributing to RWI’s engagements with academia. Academia orientated activities aimed to inspire local academics to better address legal needs of vulnerable groups through clinical legal education and strengthen cooperation between academic and civil society representatives to produce human rights research.
It is important to note that the high level of engagement of local partners and other stakeholders continues despite the recent challenges.
“We were able to successfully complete all planned activities despite the difficult situation in the country. This is a good indication of the strength and commitment of our partnerships for the future programme,” says Zuzana Zalanova, Director of Europe Office.
The Institute looks forward to continuing its engagement in Armenia with the support of Swedish Development Cooperation (Sida).