YEREVAN — The Armenian parliament voted to appoint on Monday Kristine Grigoryan as the country’s new human rights defender.

The 40-year-old lawyer was nominated for the post by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party. She was backed by 68 members of the 107-seat National Assembly. She will formally take over as ombudswoman on February 24. Grigoryan served as a deputy justice minister justice until January 20. She had held other senior positions in the Armenian Ministry of Justice from 2015-2018.

Speaking in the parliament on Friday, Grigoryan said that the office of the human rights defender “must not be perceived as a body alienated from the state and fighting against the state.” She said that if elected she will strive to “correct these misconceptions.”

Grigoryan will replace Arman Tatoyan whose term in office expires in February 2022. The ruling party explained that it did not re-nominate Tatoyan due to a Venice Commission recommendation, according to which after serving one term in office human rights defenders should not be re-elected not to harm the independence of the institution.

Kristine Grigoryan was born in 1981 in the town of Sevan. She served as a national human rights expert at the Council of Europe from 2016-2017. In July 2019, she was appointed as Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Justice.-

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