The Armenian Human Rights Defender officially opened its regional office in the Lori province, one of six regional offices in Armenia. Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan, Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, and Ambassador Traian Hristea, the Head of the European Delegation to Armenia, attended the opening ceremony.
“Establishing regional offices makes it easier for people in other parts of the country to get help and advice if they feel their rights have been violated,” said Sorokin, adding that this was particularly important during the election period.
“Along with safeguarding human rights during the election periods, the six regional offices are expected to become the human rights ‘front desks’ for the Ombudsman’s national office,” said Hristea.
Andreasyan welcomed the participants, saying: “I am positive about the establishment of regional presence. I am glad that with the financial support of the European Union and the assistance of the OSCE Office in Yerevan now we have six regional centres of the Human Rights Defender’s Office in Armenia. At the same time, I sincerely hope that in the nearest future the regional offices will be also financially supported by the Armenian Government”.
Representatives of local civil society and media also participated in the event.
Similar offices have been opened and became operational some two months ago in five other regional centres – Gavar, Ijevan, Gyumri, Yeghegnadzor and Kapan. Each of them has two lawyers and one manager.
The establishment of the regional offices is part of a 1.7 million euro project on strengthening electoral processes in Armenia in line with international standards, implemented by the OSCE Office in Yerevan and financed by the European Union.