Friday, July 08, 2005

Armenia Now Roundup

The weekly online magazine,, has two articles of particular note this week. The former Hetq Online trainee and now staff reporter, Arpine Harutyunyan, writes on trafficking, but with a twist. As we know, although generally forget, trafficking is not just about sex. It's also about illegal migration, illegaly working abroad, international adoption and it can also affect men.
And while the stories in Vanadzor grew more fanciful that Arthur got married, he was bed-ridden through illness; he couldn’t get his salary to return to Armenia.

In fact, 40-year-old Arthur Aloyan was a victim of trafficking in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan (a republic in the East of Russia’s European part). Forced labor is defined by the United Nations as one form of trafficking under a protocol adopted in 2000 that also covers exploitation through prostitution, slavery, and the trade in human organs.


By late 2002, Arthur left for Ufa with 39 other men from Vandzor, including his brother-in-law Arman and his friend Georgy Gevorgyan, all hoping to be able to send money home. But the doors of slavery opened before them when they arrived.

“They took our passports away at the very beginning to put us under their total control. They made us work from morning till late night and didn’t give us a penny. We ate only macaroni, and slept in cold and wet rooms on bare beds. People say they kept us like slaves,” recalls Arthur.

Of as much concern, and as I blogged earlier, the Human Rights Ombudsperson (at last, a publication that is politically correct), Larissa Alaverdyan, is facing significant pressure against her office. Although considered impotent because she was a presidential appointee, her firm stand on a number of issues has incurred the wrath of many in government, including the president. Thankfully, however, a number of others are jumping to her defense.

Vazgen Manukyan, chairman of the National Democratic Union (NDU) declared: “Knowing Robert Kocharyan well I can say that he does not tolerate the disobedience of subordinates. In reality, the authorities committed infringements against the institution of the Ombudsperson and everybody.”

On June 16, John Evans, the United States Ambassador to Armenia, visited the Ombudsperson’s Office and presented it with a computer, saying that he would support her activities. Ambassadors of European countries met Alaverdyan at the French Embassy on June 24 and expressed their solidarity with her.
Other stories from can be accessed through the main page.

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