WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. State Department has released its “Country Reports On Human Rights Practices” for 2012, highlighting crackdowns on civil society, struggles for democratic change, and threats to freedom of expression.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the reports to the media in Washington on April 19.
The State Department annual report on human rights makes quite a harsh assessment of the situation in Armenia. “The most significant human rights problems during the year were limitations on the right of citizens to change their government, corruption and lack of transparency in government, and the limited independence of the judiciary,” reads the report. “Courts remained subject to political pressure from the executive branch, which resulted in some politically motivated prosecutions and sentencing,” it says.
The U.S. State Department also accused Armenian law-enforcement bodies of continuing to arbitrarily arrest individuals and ill-treat them in custody. “Although the government took some steps to punish officials in the security forces and elsewhere who committed abuses, some members of the security forces continued to commit human rights abuses with impunity while under the direction of civilian leadership,” it said.
The report further points to “flaws” in the conduct of the May 2012 parliamentary elections, saying that those included “the misuse of government resources” by the HHK and “credible allegations of vote buying.”