Yet another manifestation of RA Government’s ambiguous attitude towards the concept of “traditional, family values” was the support expressed by Serzh Sargsyan towards the statement on “Support to the Family Institute and Traditional Family Values” during the meeting of CIS Council of Heads of State in Sochi on October 11.
It is worth reminding that during the last few weeks, a number of politicians from the Republican Party had started a campaign against the bill on domestic violence. Thus, for instance, RPA Speaker, RA National Assembly Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov announced on October 30, “The preliminary version of the Bill on Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of the Victims of Domestic Violence does not correspond to the ideology of the Republican Party of Armenia. We are a national conservative party. Of course we are against violence, we are bearers of traditional values, namely, church, family, traditional family”.
While the aforementioned bill was being discussed in Armenia and some claimed that it is “forced by Europe”, RA President Sargsyan announced in Sochi, “We support the statement on Support to the Family Institute and Traditional Family Values, realizing that family is the basis of the society, and a factor unifying people”. However, it is unclear what we support since the statement text was not introduced to the Armenian public beforehand.
Based on the inquiry by Union of Informed Citizens NGO, the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided the text of the aforementioned statement. In particular, the document mentions that “the parties highlight the need for cooperation in solving issues related to prevention and investigation of cases of domestic violence, violation of children’s rights, as well as reduction of child mortality rates…” Moreover, the document highlights the importance of establishing efficient legal procedures for adopting children.
The hasty signing of this statement containing a clause related to children’s rights is interesting in light of the fact that Ararat TV company, which de facto belongs to the Republican Party of Armenia (they even share the same headquarters), has been actively spreading disinformation related to the Bill on Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of the Victims of Domestic Violence, stating that the law is unacceptable since it is aimed at alienating children from their families and depriving parents of their parental rights. However, the bill does not have any mention of children’s adoption in contrast to the aforementioned Sochi statement.
The Sochi document also addresses gender equality. It is worth reminding that during the discussion of 2013 amendments to the RA Law on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, some people had turned the word “gender” into an international scandal, which resulted in substitution of the formulation “gender relations” with “equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men. A number of Republican Party deputies were also against using the word “gender”.
Thus, it turns out that the Sochi document proposed by Russia and immediately accepted by Serzh Sargsyan contains items that on many occasions have been proclaimed as “evil” by the Armenian audience, namely, fight against domestic violence, prevention of violation of children’s rights, gender equality.
In fact, when it comes to legislative initiatives supported by the EU the RA authorities and the pro-Russian forces start to remember about their traditional values in order to get as much concessions as possible from the EU. Meanwhile, the documents proposed by the Russian side are accepted without reservation irrespective of their “anti-traditional” nature, similar content and even items related to children.
“Union of Informed Citizens”