Category Archives: International
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 1, 2022, the International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom (ICHRRF) released the following statement in support of the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide:
“As an organization founded on the principles of universal brotherhood, cooperation, mutual respect, compassion, and respect for basic human rights and religious freedom, the ICHRRF is fully committed to promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms as the critical values connecting Humanity. Hence the organization stands for upholding the dignity of victims of genocide and other atrocity crimes and pursuing justice for these acts.
“During the first World War, the Ottoman Turkish Islamic Caliphate systematically annihilated around 1.5 million Armenian Christian citizens. It is sometimes called the first genocide of the 20th century. The Armenian Genocide took place more than 100 years ago. However, the systematic killing of civilian men, women and children is not just in the past.
“ICHRRF applauds the US President Joe Biden’s decision to officially recognize the 1.5 million Armenians who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide during World War I. This is a much wanted initial bold step towards acknowledging the truth, history, and invaluable support for all the victims of hatred, religious atrocities, ethnic cleansing and systematic annihilation campaigns against vulnerable communities around the globe.
“Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Caliphate Empire still denies this crime against humanity. Thirty-one countries, so far, have recognized the Armenian genocide and urged Turkey to take responsibility for this heinous crime. However, many nations refuse to recognize the killings as genocide, fearing a fallout in the strategic alliance with Turkey. We urge Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and other countries that deny Armenian genocide to step up to the stark historical facts and stop indulging in shameful genocide denial for political convenience. It is imperative for all societies to openly acknowledge complicated national history to prevent group-targeted violence from happening anymore in 21st century.”
ICHRRF is a US-based non-profit organization focused on promoting human rights, religious and philosophical freedom and a polycentric worldview through continuous monitoring, education, policy research and collaboration.
Last month, the ICHRRF hosted FLArmenians.com Founder Taniel Koushakjian for an online presentation on “The Armenian Genocide and its Continued Denial by Perpetrators” as part of ICHRRF’s #SpeakingUpSeries on human rights and religious freedom.
By Harut Sassounian
The Washington-based International Republican Institute’s public opinion poll, conducted November 22-December 5, 2021, measured the Armenian population’s views on political, economic, and security issues. The survey was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The poll revealed a key finding: 46% of the population thinks that “Armenia is headed in the wrong direction,” while only 34% thinks that the country is headed in “the right direction.” This indicates that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s often-repeated boast that he enjoys “the people’s mandate” is not necessarily so. This is a significant shift from the 54% of the votes the Prime Minister’s political party received in the June 20, 2021 parliamentary elections. More importantly, the number of those who think that Armenia is headed in the wrong direction increased from 20% in May 21, 2021 to 34% in July 2021 and 46% in December 2021.
However, on another important question, “Do you believe that you or people like you can influence decisions made in our country,” 66% said yes, while 33% said no. This is definitely a positive indication for the authorities.
The next question: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way democracy is developing in our country?” the country was almost evenly split: 51% yes and 47% no.
To the question: “Do you consider our country to be governed in the interest of the majority of people or in the interest of some groups?” 61% said it was governed in the interest of “some groups,” while only 31% said it was governed in the interest of “the majority.” This reflects negatively on the current government.
On the positive side, 66% of the people surveyed said they are “not afraid of openly expressing their opinions,” while 31% said they were afraid to do so.
To the question: “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the work of the following state bodies?” the top approval was given to Pashinyan government’s frequent critic, Human Rights Defender’s (Ombudsman’s) office (68% satisfied vs. 25% dissatisfied); the police (68% vs. 29%); local governments (63% vs. 33%); armed forces (58% vs. 37%); Central Electoral Commission (57% vs. 33%); and National Security Service (50% vs. 41%). The Prime Minister’s office came in 7th place with 49% satisfied vs. 48% dissatisfied. The Armenian Parliament came in 16th place with 31% satisfied and a whopping 67% dissatisfied. This is not surprising as the parliament’s televised sessions frequently show scenes of shouting matches, insults, and physical altercations ending with abrupt orders by the parliament’s leadership representing the Prime Minister’s political party to turn off the TV cameras to hide the disorderly conduct of the rowdy parliamentarians.
Turning to foreign policy issues, those surveyed ranked France on top with 92% as having the best relationship with Armenia. Then came Iran (80%); the United States (77%); China (75%); European Union (69%); Russia (64%); Georgia (58%); UK (47%); other (10%); Turkey (5%); and Azerbaijan at the very bottom with 3%.
When asked “Which two countries were the most important political partners for Armenia?” Russia (57%); France (50%); the U.S. (38%); Iran (23%); European Union (5%); China (5%); Georgia (3%); and India (1%).
In response to “Which two countries are the most important economic partners of Armenia?” Russia again came first with 61%; Iran (40%); (China (29%); the U.S. (16%); France (14%); Georgia (8%); European Union (7%); India (2%); and Turkey (2%).
When asked “Which 2 countries are the most important security partners for Armenia?” the answers were: Russia (64%); France (32%); Iran (31%); the U.S. (26%); European Union (5%); China (4%); Georgia (2%); and India (1%).
“Which 2 countries are the greatest political threat to Armenia?” The survey respondents said: Turkey (90%); Azerbaijan (77%); Russia (15%); UK (3%); Israel (2%); the U.S, (2%); and Georgia (1%).
“Which 2 countries are the biggest economic threat to Armenia?” Survey respondents said: Turkey (68%); Azerbaijan (52%); Russia (17%); Georgia (10%); Iran (4%); the U.S. (1%); China (1%); and European Union (1%).
“Which 2 countries are the greatest security threat to Armenia?” Survey respondents said: Turkey (88%); Azerbaijan (81%); Russia (11%); Iran (2%); the U.S. (2%); Israel (2%); Georgia (1%); France (1%); and UK (1%).
“The relationship with which 2 countries needs to be improved for the development of Armenia?” The survey respondents said: Russia (53%); the U.S. (35%); Iran (29%); France (25%); China (15%); European Union (9%); Georgia (7%); Turkey (5%); Azerbaijan (4%); India (1%); and UK (1%).
The survey then asked if the respondents agreed or disagreed with the following three questions:
- 73% agreed and 25% disagreed that “Armenia should start a dialog with Turkey and normalize bilateral relations, while pursuing the agenda of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey.”
- 70% agreed and 27% disagreed that “Armenia must establish bilateral relations with Turkey by putting forward its own preconditions such as Turkey’s non-hindrance of peace in Artsakh.”
- 44% agreed and 53% disagreed that “Under no circumstances Armenia should pursue normalization of relations with Turkey.”
Most survey respondents disagreed with Pashinyan that opening roads with Azerbaijan is beneficial to Armenia. When asked: “How will the opening of transport routes with Azerbaijan impact Armenia’s economic development?” 27% gave a positive answer; 59% negative.
The same is true for Turkey. When asked: “How will the opening of transport routes with Turkey impact Armenia’s economic development?” 35% gave a positive answer; 53% negative.
When asked: “How important is the resolution to the Artsakh conflict for the future of Armenia in the next 10 years?” The overwhelming 96 % said “important”; 3% “unimportant.”
The survey asked: “What would be an acceptable solution of the Artsakh conflict?”
- 35% said: “Recognition of Artsakh as an independent state.”
- 34% said: “The unification of Artsakh with Armenia as a region of the Republic of Armenia.”
- 16% said: “Establishment of the status of the Artsakh Autonomous Region within Armenia.”
- 11% said: “Establishment of the status of Artsakh within Russia.”
- 1% said: “Maintaining the current status quo.”
When asked: “Is Armenia able to independently defend its borders with Azerbaijan, without the help of any other country?” 46% said yes; 53% no.
Finally, when asked: “Which country would you prefer to assist Armenia in defending its borders?” 47% said Russia; the U.S. (18%); France (14%); Iran (8%); China (2%); European Union (1%); all three Minsk Group countries of Russia, the U.S., France (1%); and NATO (1%).
Whether we agree or disagree, these are the answers that the people of Armenia gave. It reflects their current mindset.
On Monday, November 8, 2021 at 12pm (Eastern) / 9am (Pacific), the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will host a special webinar with Artak Beglaryan, State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh, in conversation with Anna Ohanyan, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College. The program will be presented as part of the NAASR/Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues.
Guests have the option of viewing the livestream on YouTube or attending via Zoom. Zoom attendance requires registration in advance. Zoom attendees can submit written questions via Zoom which will be asked as time permits.
Zoom Registration link: https://bit.ly/NAASRBeglaryan
To view live on YouTube, no need to register. Go to NAASR’s channel at the start of the program or watch afterwards if you missed it:https://www.youtube.com/c/ArmenianStudies
Artak Beglaryan has served as State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) since June 2021. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Beglaryan worked as Chief of Staff of the President, and coordinated the activity of the Republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For more than two years Artak Beglaryan served as the Human Rights Ombudsman for Artsakh. During his tenure, the office of Ombudsman issued numerous reports on both domestic and conflict-related human rights violations, including on war crimes committed by Azerbaijan during the 2020 aggression against Artsakh.
Beglaryan will engage in a conversation with Anna Ohanyan, Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College in Massachusetts.