16.10.2013

Public Service Announcement: Unequal Treatment of Rights Information Center NGO

The following is a Public Service Announcement regarding the unequal treatment of Rights Information Center NGO by the municipal authorities.

The NGO 's mission is to help people know and protect their rights and it will continue to work towards the manifestation of human rights awareness in the local citizens.

Since 2005, the Rights Information Center has rented a 18 sq m office, under lease, in Mashtots No. 3 building, with the understanding that it must make any necessary repairs and pay the rent.

In 2013, the municipal government proposed that all tenants submit new applications for a new tenant contract. This contract has been ratified and notarized with one exception made, by the Mayor of Goris, solely rejecting the Rights Information Center 's application on the grounds that priority shall be given only to the community and government agency office needs. In the meantime, the Mayor makes decisions differently with Ltd. companies by providing them space, though they are not local government agencies.


After analyzing the situation, we announce:
  • Rights Information Center NGO is not bound by any decision of the mayor. We are concerned about the situation that exists in Goris, as this decision could hinder the activity of the NGO. This demonstrates to us discrimination, the limitation on freedom of expression, and division of society.
  • Such a response is due only to the community service organizations for human rights activities. In particular,we hold open discussions through platforms like our Facebook page and "Free Goris" Facebook Group. The NGO's website regularly publishes information and announces community service activities, including associated costs, in order to highlight budget transparency and answer any other questions that the public may have.
  • The community service activities of the NGO will continue and we will now focus on the need to raise awareness of citizens to solve the problems existing in Goris.
We call on all citizens, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the media, of Goris, to participate in civil society. Justice can be difficult, but it is only through the establishment of free and competitive elections, that we can uphold the rules of law in Goris.

It pays to remember the words of the famous pastor, Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the socialists and I didn't speak out becasue I wasn't a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

For the Armenian version, click here