Thursday, November 30, 2006


Hakob Badalyan

Lragir, Armenia
Nov 29 2006

The annual telethon of Armenia Foundation made it clear that it is becoming crucial to unite the nation's potential and use it for the common goal. Perhaps, in this situation the question "who is to blame" is not as important as "what should be done to solve this problem". However, it is impossible to find an answer unless the group of people to blame are not exposed and isolated from the all-Armenian donations. Otherwise, no solution will work, because there will always be the "guilty" who have turned the national donations into a shield for their own careers. For instance, the NKR president believes and is trying to persuade everyone that donations are made for the reconstruction of Karabakh considering his personality. The executive director of Armenia Foundation Naira Melkumyan believes that the telethons have record high results especially in the period when she is the executive director. The president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan believes that under his office the Diaspora started trusting the Homeland more. If Armenia gains from this competition, it could be overlooked to let it "favor" Armenia: let everyone believe that the nation sets records on the pages of history of national donations thanks to them. After all, the thing that matters is to raise money for the reconstruction of Karabakh.

But is this competition helpful to raising money and is this money spent on the reconstruction of Karabakh? It would be wrong and unrealistic to state that there are no results in either aspects.

Money is certainly raised, and something is certainly reconstructed in Karabakh. However, it is seen by the naked eye that it is not adequate considering the nation's potential within the Armenia-Diaspora-Karabakh triangle. However, before getting down to the nation's potential it is very important to find out if the volume of reconstruction in Karabakh corresponds to at least the local potential - that of Armenia and Karabakh. If we consider the budgets of both countries, it is adequate. But when we consider the way of life and the financial possibilities of the leaderships of these two states, the presidents, the prime ministers and the ministers, we start to doubt that the potential of Armenia and Karabakh is used at full to reconstruct Karabakh. In this case, the question occurs whether the donations by the Armenians worldwide are helpful for the future of Karabakh or in reality, in its depth, these donations obstruct the formation of Karabakh and, why not, also Armenia as states.

What is the problem? When the leaderships of Armenia and Karabakh turn the local potential for reconstruction and development into personal wealth, the donations by Armenians worldwide become a shield and justification for this action. All that should be carried out with the local potential is carried out with the donations of the Diaspora, and whatever could be done on these donations is not done.

It appears that the telethon of Armenia Foundation is used to justify the failure of the governments of Armenia and Karabakh, serving the longevity of this government because if there were no progress thanks to these donations, the population of Karabakh would demand account from their own and also the Armenian government to some degree, but not from the Diaspora, of course. In that case, they would have to explain to people why they ride in cars that cost as much as the water pipeline or a school but cannot extinguish fire on the wheat field that inflicts immense losses on the farmers. Or why they live in castles that cost an entire village, whereas in villages people do not have basic conveniences. Either they have to explain or they have to quit quietly. Therefore, they prefer to leave for America and explain some military and patriotic things to the Diaspora. It is easier and more profitable. However, Diaspora seems to have stopped believing these patriotic travelers because the more money the developing Homeland-Diaspora relation promises, the better they know how and on what these people live in reality, who persuade them to open their purses during 12 hours of the live telethon and yet for the 11 months that precede it. They cannot understand that if they beg the Diaspora for money, they had better not show up during the telethon. In that case, there will be more donations. For instance, a Diasporan cannot give money to the Homeland as a national donation when he sees that an actor or a singer is speaking about national values, who was advertising a definite presidential candidate two years ago, forgetting about national values he confesses. The Diaspora would perhaps agree to give money to the Homeland if there was 12 hours of silence instead of 12 hours of hypocrisy, and I believe that in that case they might agree to pay for silence separately.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


28.11.2006 18:16 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The overwhelming majority of Turks have a positive stance towards establishment of relations with neighboring Armenia, in case the latter meets "certain conditions," returns of a sociological survey in Turkey indicate. 82% of respondents out of 8 thousand 714, questioned by Association for Struggle against Ungrounded Statements on Genocide have a positive stance over establishment of relations with Armenia, in case the latter meets "certain conditions." These include refusal from "statements" on the Genocide, "apologizing to Turkey for these statements." 53% of respondents listed a whole range of preconditions, including "Armenians should apologize to Turks for pogroms during WWI," "demolish" memorial to victims of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, withdraw from Nagorno Karabakh.

16% of those questioned considered "breaking off relations with the Armenian communities of Europe and US and refusal from statements on the Genocide" sufficient. 18% of interviewees do not wish establishment of relations between Armenia and Turkey at all. Meanwhile, the percentage of those willing to establish relations without preconditions is not mentioned, reports RFE/RL.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Parliament passes law that overrides Constitutional Court decision and further legalizes human rights violations

Garbis over at Notes from Hairenik had posted on his blog about how the government is further manipulating the law for their own personal gain. This is the same government that controls the fund that a bunch of people from the Diaspora just got finished giving millions of dollars to on Thanksgiving. I guess they needed the new law so they could invest your donations and have a maximal return on your investment that they will benefit from.

It’s time for us all to put a stop to this madness!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Armenian-American silent majority donates only $1 million to the All-Armenia Fund “Telethon-2006”

The annual "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund telethon, which is the most successful government controlled collectors of Diaspora monies reported that they successfully collected $13.7 million.

Running the numbers, we discover that $9.8 million were given by 7 donors (who gave $500k or more), $270,000 were given by 4 donors of $50k or greater, $1.4 million were given by Germany, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, and $1,200,000 was squeezed out of the natives of Armenia and Artsakh, totaling $12,670,000. This means a little more than $1 million was giving by the Diaspora of America, which makes up about 1 million of the better off financially Armenians of the world (less than 1% participated).

The above "success" is an indicator of the confidence the Armenian-American Diaspora has in the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and its Board of Trustees. I would guess this has to do with the large Armenians from Armenia who have seen first hand how those in power use collected Disapora money.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Selling our blood to the Turks... Possible peace settlement

Onnik over at Oneworld Multimedia reported on the possible settlement of the Artsakh conflict with Azerbaijan by the end of this year.

I really don’t get how this all works and how it is that Armenia will negotiate peace deals for us?

According to Onnik’s posting, territories we liberated with our blood and the loss of thousands of lives will be handed back to Azerbaijan and the 40 kilometer connection we have with Armenia will be controlled by peace keepers.

You know what I don’t get is if we are going to do this, why we feel so weak that this is the only solution?

I do understand that Kocharian and his government will only be in favor of peace in this fashion since they have royally mismanaged Artsakh and then Armenia during their totalitarian rule over the last 13 years, while they squeezed out most of the needed economic resources the country needed to stand on it’s own feet. I’m convinced from what I know that if we had a benevolent government, blockade, war and all the other normal obstacles well managed countries have, people would not be looking for an escape route from the homeland and poverty would not be so high.

If such a step is taken in ascertaining peace in the way Onnik has stated in is log, it will not only be political suicide for Kocharian and his government, but most probably give them and their families reason to flee Armenia to save their necks.

I’m all for peace with our neighbors, but not at a price of giving liberated territories that my childrens Grandfather gave his life for in order to assure that the history we had with our Turkic neighbors does not repeat itself. If my Father-in-law gave his life for something that Kocharian will give back with the stroke of a pen, then my he (Kocharian) join my Father-in-law soon there after so he can make Kocharian better understand better what I'm trying to say.

Oh and just for those that don't understand our history, be sure that if we enter into a peace deal with the Turks today as stated in Onnik's log, mark my words, next chance the Turks get they will be back to their terror attacks once again killing our people. The only way to peace with the Turks is to always have a big stick to knock them back when they act up. Of course to do this we have to have leaders that provide for the people and not rape them of all their economic, social and cultural security as Kocharian and his government has.

Friday, November 24, 2006


[02:42 pm] 24 November, 2006

Former officer of the RF Federal Security Service Alexander Litvinenko died last night in a hospital in London where he went on November 17. The doctors never found out what he had been poisoned with.

Litvinenko received political refuge in Great Britain in 2002. During the last few weeks he took measures to reveal the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya; he was sure that Kremlin had a finger in it.

The residents of Armenia learned the name of Litvinenko in 1999 after the October 27 crime in the Parliament when he announced that `It was all organized by Russia'. Litvinenko announced that the RF special services, particularly, the Chief Investigation Administration, have planned the murder of the Armenian politicians.


[03:35 pm] 24 November, 2006

The annual TV marathon organized by Pan-Armenian fund `Armenia' titled `I Love Armenia' and `I Love Artsakh' which lasted 12 hours gathered 13.7 million USD. The money will be used for the development of the NKR Hadrout region. Over 12 thousand people reside in the region.

By the way, the sum gathered this year is twice as much as that of last year. The 7 million gathered last year was allotted to NKR Martakert region.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Armenia Does Not Need Foreigners
[November 20, 2006]

Pankaj Joshi, an Indian citizen, first visited Armenia in December 2003. He received a three-month visa to Armenia at that time, but stayed for exactly one year, remaining in the country illegally for a number of months. “In December 2004, when I decided to go back to India, Aghajanyan at the Passport and Visa Department (OVIR in Russian) asked me for 900 dollars. They then gave me a three-day visa, and I left Armenia with no problem,” narrated Joshi. The stamps in his passport corroborated his story. Samvel Aghajanyan is the deputy head of the Passport and Visa Department within the police structure, and his job deals with granting foreign citizens permission for entry to Armenia.

Joshi came back to Armenia in April 2005. He received a 21-day visa at the airport. After the deadline he received an extension for a further three months without any difficulty. He then managed to further extend his legal permit to stay, this time up to January 2006. Pankaj Joshi had a job offer, and continues to work to this day at the New Delhi restaurant in Yerevan. He holds a contract with George and Brandon ltd., the company that owns the restaurant, and pays his taxes on accordance with Armenian law.

Om Bahadur Khatri, Man Bahadur Sahani, and Yam Lal Kandel, all citizens of Nepal, are also employed by the New Delhi restaurant. These four restaurant employees have been unable to get visas for the past few months and are now staying in Armenia illegally.

“…Their reason for coming to Armenia was to work at the New Delhi restaurant, owned by George and Brandon ltd. On October 21, 2005, a letter was written by Karen Ghevondyan, president of George and Brandon ltd., to the Passport and Visa Department requesting temporary resident status in Armenia for the four foreign citizens mentioned, but this request was rejected,” noted Alvina Zakaryan, head of the Passport and Visa Department, in a written reply to our query.


President Arkady Ghogasian Attends Divine Liturgy and The Ordination of a Deacon

On Sunday, November 19 at 11:00 a.m., the Primate celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at the Armenian Church of Burbank (Diocese Headquarters), and during the services he ordained Sub-Deacon Vahan Manoogian as a Deacon. Rev. Fr. Arshag Khatchadourian, Pastor of St. James, participated in the ordination services.

His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Fr.Dajad Yardemian, Fr. Kegham Zarkarian, and Rev. Dr. Fr. Stepanos Dingilian were also in attendance.

Fr. Tavit Zelveyan, Pastor of Burbank Parish, and Fr. Zaven Margossyan, Pastor of Sun Valley and a part of North Hollywood, served at the Holy Altar.

In his sermon, the Primate welcomed the President and wished him success in his mission. At the end of the service, the Primate bestowed upon Jack Hatchikian, a member of St. John Garabed Church of San Diego, the Medal of St. Nerses the Graceful for his dedicated service. Fr. Dajad Yardemian read the Encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Government Agencies Help Convicted Trafficker Escape
[November 13, 2006]

In February 2006, Anush Zakharyants, who was serving time at the Abovyan criminal detention center after being convicted of trafficking, “escaped” with collective help from the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General's office. Border guards helped Zakharyants leave Armenia. It does not matter how much money she paid at the border in order to buy her escape. What matters is that it is possible to buy your way across our borders, even when your passport is expired.

Zakharyants' escape was accomplished in three steps:

The first step consisted of freeing her from the detention center. This was done by the Ministry of Justice. The second step involved obtaining her passport from the Prosecutor's Office. This was done jointly by the Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Justice.

The third step was crossing the Armenian border. This was done by the National Security Service. At each step, these official organs did all that was in their power to help Anush escape from Armenia.

It is difficult to say whether these different organs collaborated with each other, but there is no official body left in Armenia that is authorized to investigate this issue. How can the Ministry of Justice, the Prosecutor General's office or the National Security Service – under whom the border guards operate - file a case against themselves?


Anush Zakharyants, a citizen of Uzbekistan, was first convicted of human trafficking (article 132 of the Armenian Criminal Code) in Armenia and sentenced to a four-and-a-half year prison term on May 28, 2004. She had brought nine women from Uzbekistan to Armenia and had subjected them to sexual exploitation. Anush had confiscated their passports and forced them to make money for her through prostitution. All this was proven in court, Anush was convicted, and the victims were repatriated to Uzbekistan.

Step One
The convict was released from the detention center

Anush was serving her term at the Abovyan prison, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. In February of this year, Anush left the center and did not return. Ashot Martirosyan, the Head of the Criminal Supervision Department answered to question we had directed at Minister of Justice Davit Harutyunyan as follows.

“…In accordance with Article 80 of the Armenian Criminal Code, the head of the Abovyan criminal detention center had allowed convict A. Zakharyants a short leave of absence from 01.02.06 to 05.02.06 with the aim of social rehabilitation. However, the convict did not return within the given period to continue serving her sentence. The Abovyan criminal detention center informed the Prosecutor's office of the situation, where a criminal case was then filed against A. Zakharyants.”

As part of the first step, papers were prepared at the prison to allow Zakharyants a short leave of absence. Our source at the Criminal Supervision Department informed us that the order for her absence had been issued by former Head of Department Samvel Hovhannisyan (he was removed from his post four months ago, but the reason for his dismissal reportedly had nothing to do with organizing Anush Zakharyants' escape).

“On January 31, 2006, convict A. Zakharyants went to the head of the medical service at the detention center, Dr. H. Muradyan, regarding some health problems. The latter recommended a specialized diagnostic examination and this recommendation was attached to the convict's personal file.” - This was the reply we managed to elicit, with the help of Anahit Voskanyan, Press Secretary for the Ministry of Justice, from Arsen Afrikyan, head of the Abovyan Criminal Detention Center.

After that, Zakharyants received a five-day leave of absence from the prison. Zakharyants' passport was not among her personal belongings at the Abovyan Criminal Detention Center. By law, it should have been sent to the Justice Ministry facility after she was sentenced, but it was not among her personal belongings.

“The Court of First Instance for the Kentron and Nork-Marash municipalities of Yerevan informed us, replying to our written query, that the convict's passport was missing from her criminal file as well. Therefore, the convict did not have a passport at the time the leave of absence was granted,” stated Arsen Afrikyan.

Afrikyan also said that their search operations had yielded no results, and that they had gone to the Kotayk Marz Prosecutor on February 28, requesting an investigation into the case of A. Zakharyants. Zakharyants was supposed to return to the detention center on February 6. The administration at the Abovyan facility waited 22 days before informing the Kotayk Marz Prosecutor of Zakharyants' disappearance. In all likelihood, this was Samvel Hovhannisyan's initiative as well. He may have been waiting for Anush to reach Uzbekistan and inform him of her safe arrival.

Step Two
Samvel Hovhannisyan gave the convict her passport

Anush Zakharyants left the Abovyan Criminal Detention Center without her passport. In January 2004, her passport was in her criminal file at the Prosecutor's Office. The file was sent to court without the passport, which is against the law. The passport had been removed from the file and kept at the Prosecutor's Office. We tried to find out from the Prosecutor General if the passport was still at the office today, or whether it had been returned to Anush Zakharyants.

Sona Truzyan, Press Secretary for the Prosecutor General's office stated, “On the basis of an official statement by the former head of the Ministry of Justice Criminal Supervision Department, an inspector returned Anush Zakharyants her passport and received a statement of receipt on January 12, 2006.”

The official statement, as clarified by the press secretary, had been a verbal command by which the former Head of the Criminal Supervision Department Samvel Hovhannisyan obtained the passport from inspector Aristakes Yeremyan. But the passport never entered the criminal detention center. It remained “in Hovhannisyan's pocket” and was handed to Zakharyants in early February, when she was outside the center during her leave of absence. It is not clear what remuneration Hovhannisyan received against the passport.

As soon as she received her passport, Anush Zakharyants left Armenia.

Step Three
Armenian border guards got Zakharyants across to Georgia, even though her passport had expired

Hetq wrote two letters to Gorik Hakobyan, head of the National Security Service, to try and find out whether Zakharyants had crossed the Armenia border and how, with which passport, she had done so. We received no reply.

Anush Zakharyants held a Republic of Uzbekistan passport which expired in 2005, which meant that she was not allowed to cross the Armenian border. But that did not keep her from bribing the Armenian border guards and getting across.

But the Georgian guards on the other side of the border noticed that her passport had expired and detained Zakharyants. She pleaded for political asylum with Border Department officials at the Georgian Internal Affairs Ministry. Her application was processed by the Ministry for Refugee Issues in Georgia. The border guards handed Anush over to officials at the Department for Constitutional Security within the Ministry for Internal Affairs.

Our source within the Georgian law enforcement agencies informed us that Anush Zakharyants made a deal with the Georgians and gave them information about Georgians dealing in human trafficking. In return, she was allowed to go to the Embassy of Uzbekistan and receive a certificate of repatriation. For some reason, officials from the Ministry for National Security arranged for Anush's stay in Tbilisi with an organization that provides help to women victims of domestic violence. Anush left for Uzbekistan a week later.

We find ourselves forced to ask the following questions of the agencies that helped Anush Zakharyants to escape once again, in public this time. We would like to ask Minister of Justice Davit Harutyunyan the same question we asked a year ago - How is it that everyone convicted under the trafficking article have all managed to leave prison early? Why are the structures under his jurisdiction so solicitous of convicts of this type? Why were they so considerate this time around in organizing Anush Zakharyants' escape?

We would like to ask Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan – Why was Anush Zakharyants' passport kept for two years at the Office of the Prosecutor General? Why and how was it returned to Samvel Hovhannisyan? Does the Prosecutor General's office keep the passports of other convicts as well?

We would like to receive a reply to this question from Gorik Hakobyan, Head of the National Security Service – How did the convict cross the Armenian border holding an expired passport?

Edik Baghdasaryan

Turkey suspends French military contacts

November 15, 2006

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey has suspended military relations with France in a dispute over whether the mass killings of Armenians early in the last century amounted to genocide, a top army commander said Wednesday.

The move was the latest backlash against French legislation that, if approved by the Senate and president, would criminalize denial that the killings of Armenians in Turkey were genocide.

"Relations with France in the military field have been suspended," Gen. Ilker Basbug said in Ankara, according to state-owned Anatolia news agency.

France's Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

France and Turkey are both NATO members, and Turkey has been a buyer of French-made weaponry. The two countries also have participated in military exercises together, and have sent troops to serve in the international peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

But the Turkish military also has blacklisted several French firms in the past in similar disputes over the mass killings of Armenians.

Basbug, commander of land forces, disclosed the suspension of military ties with France in comments to reporters at a reception in Ankara, the Anatolia news agency reported. The French bill still needs approval from the Senate and President Jacques Chirac to become law.

Asked whether any military missions between the two nations had been canceled, Basbug said: "There are no high-level visits between the two countries."

Turkey sees the French bill as a hostile, anti-Turkish move, and has warned that the lawmakers' vote has already damaged Turkish-French relations.

Turkey vehemently denies that it committed genocide against Armenians, though many nations have classified the killings as such.

The United Nation's 1948 Genocide Convention makes genocide a crime, and defines it as killing or injuring people "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."

Turkey acknowledges that large numbers of Armenians died in mass expulsions and fighting, but says the number of dead is exaggerated and that most were killed in interethnic violence that erupted as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

Armenians and many nations say some 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a genocidal campaign devised and executed by Turkish leaders.

The European Union and European media have criticized the French bill, saying it does not respect the principle of free expression and does not promote dialogue with Turkey, a hopeful EU candidate.

The United States also criticized the French bill, saying that it gets in the way of reconciling the Turks and Armenians.

The Armenian issue is one of the most divisive and emotional in Turkey. Those who classify the killings as genocide are often accused of treason.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Lragir, Armenia
Nov 14 2006

Nobody knows the exact number of people living in Lachin, says Arman Melikyan, adviser to the NKR president, former NKR minister of foreign affairs. He thinks that the reason for this uncertainty is the constant migration to Armenia and back. Arman Melikyan says this is very bad because there must be a permanent population in Lachin, but Karabakh is unable to resolve this problem alone, says the adviser to the NKR president.

"We must realize that Karabakh alone cannot provide conditions for the fast resettlement and prosperity of this territory. This is the problem of both Armenia and the Diaspora, and also the problem of our potential allies, who must be interested in having the Armenians live there," says Arman Melikyan.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Lragir, Armenia
Nov 9 2006

The President of the Republic of Armenia - Mr. Robert Kocharian
The President of the Mountainous Republic of Karabakh - Mr. Arkady

We would like to draw your attention to a recent series of reports that have appeared in both the Armenian and diasporan press focusing on the worsening socio-economic situation in the Kashatagh region. As a result, Armenians are leaving this vitally strategic area in increasing numbers.

When the Karabagh war ended, Armenians the world over heaved a collective sigh of relief and jubilation. After years of struggle and much sacrifice, Artsakh was once again delivered into the hands of its rightful owners. So too had Kashatagh (Lachin), the lands once artificially separating Armenia from Artsakh, been liberated.

But Kashatagh needed an influx of Armenians to make the land flourish once again. Therefore, in 1994, Armenia initiated a much-heralded policy of repopulating Kashatagh and its environs. Primarily, Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan and other indigent families from Armenia were encouraged to move to Kashatagh with promises of generous financial and material assistance. Many did heed the call and moved to Kashatagh. Given the fact that Armenia itself was in dire financial straits at the time, this initiative was both commendable and noble. According to various sources, Kashatagh's repopulation reached a peak of about 20,000 in the late 1990s. Today, however, the remaining population has dipped below 10,000. Some say it has reached a low of 7,000. In the last few years, authorities of the NKR have taken over the governance of Kashatagh from Armenia, and yet the situation has continued to deteriorate.

Armenians who initially were encouraged to move there now feel a sense of neglect and isolation. Surprisingly, some news reports cite the fact that many local officials agree that the situation in Kashatagh needs immediate attention. We fear that if conditions do not improve, we soon might be facing an area of land devoid of Armenians. No one wants this to happen.

We the undersigned find it troubling that the responsible authorities in Armenia and Karabakh seem to be indifferent to the unfolding tragedy in Kashatagh. Therefore, we ask that your respective governments analyze the situation and take the necessary measures to ameliorate the conditions faced by the residents of Kashatagh and thus reverse the present exodus from the region.

We also ask that your governments clarify their positions regarding the resettlement policy in Kashatagh. Unfortunately, many Armenians there believe they have been betrayed and are to be used as pawns in future political negotiations. The Armenians of Kashatagh deserve to know where they stand.

As Armenians concerned with the plight of our compatriots in Kashatagh we can no longer remain silent when faced with the inaction, mismanagement, and dare we say, corruption, that is the hallmark of many local officials in Kashatagh. "Business as usual" should not be tolerated and we urge you to take appropriate and quick action.


Coalition in Support of Kashatagh.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Putting an end to human bondage

11/12/2006 06:55 PM | Gulf News

Part of the West's frequent onslaught against all things Arab has been the charge that human rights are abused. So-called examples are quoted often inaccurate or out of date as proof positive of the allegations, which a gullible public tends to be ready to believe. That a full and proper understanding of the situation and conditions, either in the Arab world or the subcontinent, is never acquired or appreciated is immaterial. It is truly a case of never letting facts interfere with a good story.

However, the damage is done, and once done is very hard to undo regardless of what other good there may be. Bad news takes the fast track; good news gets shunted to one side.

Aware of the perpetuating over-hyped publicity given to the region, and in particular regard to the UAE, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a decree which tackles the very problem of human trafficking and all its ugly consequential effects. The 16-article law, which comes into effect one month after it has been published in the official gazette, outlines the various punishments that can be incurred by those violating the law. The penalties range from heavy fines to life imprisonment, thereby demonstrating the seriousness with which the problem is viewed by the Government.

Shaikh Khalifa has also instructed his council of ministers to set up a National Committee for combating Human Trafficking. The committee, comprising representatives from several appropriate ministries and organisations, will study and revise human trafficking legislation to ensure protection accords to international standards. All of which is welcome.

Yet consideration must be given to establishing centres where the exploited can seek sanctuary.

Wide publicity of their locations and ways to contact them will go a long way to ensuring the success of the new law.

Murderer Ramil Safarov may be returned to Azerbaijan

Public Radio, Armenia
Nov 11 2006

Judge of the Constitutional Court of Hungary Andrash Bragyova has declared in Baku that Azeri Officer Ramil Safarov who brutally killed Armenian Officer Gurgen Margaryan and was sentenced to life imprisonment by Hungarian Court, may be returned to Azerbaijan. According to the Azerbaijani `Uch Nockta' newspaper, he `expressed
hope that when taking decisions about Ramil Safarov the Supreme Court of Hungary will take into account the complexness of the motives of crime.' He voiced confidence that the Armenian lobby will have no influence on the verdict.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Human traffickers face imprisonment

12/27/2006 09:34 AM | By Samir Salama, Bureau Chief

Abu Dhabi: The UAE stepped up battle against human traffickers with a tough new law that gives a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and penalties of up to Dh1 million.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued the law to combat human trafficking after it was approved by the Cabinet and the Supreme Council, according to WAM.

The law defines human trafficking as mobilising, transporting, dispatching, or receiving persons through the use or the threat of force or any other forms of coercion.

It includes kidnapping, deceit, manipulation, misuse of power, exploitation of others' weaknesses, or giving or receiving money or advantages to win the support of a person having influence over another person to exploit him.

Exploitation is defined to include exploitation for sex, engaging others in prostitution, servitude, forced labour, enslavement, quasi-slavery practices or detachment of organs.

The law imposes a prison term of at least five years for anyone engaging in human trafficking.

The penalty will be life imprisonment if the perpetrators are an organised criminal gang, or if the victim was a female, child (under 18 years) or handicapped.

The life sentence will be imposed also if the crime is committed through deceit, involved the use of force or threat of murder or bodily harm, or involved physical or psychological torture.

The same sentence will be imposed if the perpetrator is the husband, a relative, descendant or guardian of the victim, or if the perpetrator is a public servant or given the responsibility of a public task.

A sentence of one to five years in prison and/or a Dh5,000 to Dh20,000 fine will be imposed on whoever was aware of a plan to commit a human trafficking crime, but failed to inform authorities.

Corporate organisations will be liable to a fine ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh1 million if their representatives, managers or agents engage in human trafficking.

Funds, goods or instruments used in any form of human trafficking will be confiscated.

The Cabinet will set up a national committee for combating human trafficking, comprising representatives of several ministries and organisations.

It will be tasked with revising human trafficking legislation to secure the necessary protection according to international standards, prepare reports and coordinate anti-human trafficking efforts with other authorities.

The law will take effect one month after publication in the official gazette.

Your comments

Excellent rule passed. Really amazing rule according to an Islamic country. I really appreciate the authorities for passing this rule.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

This initiative is a true blessing to our oppressed brothers to voice out their side against the selfish perpetrators. We only hope that the designated authorities will act accordingly.

This is an awsome step forward for the UAE and we must pray that the necessary resouces are provided by government to uphold this high moral ground and combat this scourge of civilised society.

It?s one of the excellent steps taken by the government. In fact the government should send their people through their CID and catch people/companies selling visit visas and their names.

This is the best news I heard about the human trafficking law in the UAE. Lately there were many stories about how the UAE is becoming a centre for human trafficking and prostitution. I applaud the government of the UAE for passing such a thorough law against those criminals.
Newport Beach,USA

Why give them life? Why not execute? Why keep them alive?
Abu Dhabi,UAE


By Aghavni Harutyunian

AZG Armenian Daily

This week, the heirs of the victims of the Armenian Genocide will receive about $8 million of compensation from New York Life insurance company. According to the press release disseminated by the company, about 2500 people will get $7 million 954 thousand 362. This compensation sum will amount to $10 million as a result of the court investigation instituted since 1999. Besides, about $3 million were already sent to various Armenian benevolence organizations.

According to the geography, the heirs dwelling in Armenia will receive about $3,7 million, the American-Armenians will get $2,7 million of compensations, while the French Armenians will get about $650 thousand. In general, Armenians dwelling in 26 countries will get the compensations.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Aravot, Armenia
Nov 10 2006

If you aren't sick in cough or tonsillitis but in a serious chronic disease, each conscientious physician will tell you: 2-3 months lasting treatment may have a short- date effect, you must do my demands in all your life, or at least for years. And the sick person must be consistent; otherwise the organism will again catch that disease.

In this case, it is meaningless to hold 10 days or a month of security traffic. The drivers and passengers who used to break the rules of traffic won't learn the rules in a month. They won't respect the laws so soon. Or another example; the policemen make the buses stop only on bus stops and not there where the drivers want. If that obligation lasts a day or a month or even a year, it won't be useful. But if the policemen do it for three years, stopping on bus stops will become a conditional reflex for drivers.

It's all the same in every sphere. The entrance examinations for the institutes of higher education will be replaced by final examinations at schools in the coming summer, the schools will produce false marks of their pupils to the institutes of higher education. Which is the antidote? The Institute mustn't accept graduates from the schools, which have produced false marks for about five years. So the school will understand that falsifying the mark is meaningless.

If the prosecutor's office brings a criminal case by «slander» accusation, no TV Company will show the same material given by the ruling clique. Certainly we may accuse A. Hovsepian for double standards: on the one hand he suggests to put the right hand on the Bible, on the other hand when anybody suspects him he calls that person to his office and investigates. But the Prosecutor is right: we, the media representatives must train such kind of readers and TV watchers for whom reading each `compromise' won't be interesting. It is a problem for 50 year every day work.

Aram Abrahamian

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Aravot, Armenia
Nov 9 2006

The major part of Armenians who have left the country during last 15 years have a specific; they used to produce the Armenian life as a complete nightmare to justify their refusal to return. They may assure themselves that there is no electricity in Armenia or we stand in turn for bread till today, such fantasies are some sort of cure for them.

Our reality is far to be a heaven. The major part of our population are poor, the Armenian authorities systematically break the rights of citizens, they rig the elections, limit the freedom of the press, use their authority for personal. Material problems etc. All these are a reality and all normal newspapers write about it. But first of all, we, the citizens of Armenia, have right to raise those problems. The second, "new representatives of Diaspora" exaggerate our bad conditions. The announcements of "exiled writers" weren't published in the official press. In other words, you can't pronounce the word "regime" freely being under pressure of regime.

There is another unpleasant item in the announcement of "Exiled intellectuals"; the application addressed to democratic states where the call to assist in holding revolution in Armenia. It is meaningless to expect assistance from those countries, even if they are ready to hold a revolution. But whatever they form won't be a better one.

Besides, I'm inclined to think that the RA current authorities are admissible in general; it seems the outside powers have no problem with the current authorities.

Certainly, it doesn't mean that Europe and U.S. aren't for democratic values. If we manage to build a democratic state, they will respect us. If we don't manage, they won't respect how much we complain or swear for confidence.

Aram Abrahamian


Haik Aramyan

Lragir, Armenia
Nov 7 2006

Ararat Mahtesyan, a high-ranking police official stated November 3 that all of us, the whole society is to blame as the system of values of the youth is becoming increasingly inclined to the "criminal world, criminal approaches". The deputy chief of the Police was right, it is the fault of everyone. The youth, which is not only our present but also our future, has a "bad habit" - they learn from grown-ups around them. They finish school, try to enter a university or college, and afterwards they want to have a job, live a good and full life. And what does a young man standing at the threshold of life learn as an adult? For instance, he can see what is going on at the universities. Then he witnesses the situation in the period of the call-up. Then he learns about the ways how one can set up a business or get a placement. He can see, for instance, how the law enforcement agencies, the representatives of government agencies work, who often deal with the representatives of the "criminal world", accompany them or guarantee their security. He can see that there are privileged and "second grade" citizens, there are people who do not obey the law, and people who are cheated and robbed in the direct and indirect senses of the word every day, placing the responsibilty for the life of the country on their shoulders. What does a young man who is not a member of the privileged class do after witnessing and understanding all these things? (Especially that all this starts as early as at school.) He has to go away or get used to this situation. The other right way is, of course, that he must fight for his rights and welfare. In this sense, however, there is still a long way to go. But presently the government and the political forces of Armenia have established a system which resembles that of the "criminal world", as Mr. Mahtesyan put it. The mechanisms of black budget, extortion and blackmail function perfectly within this system. The criminalization of the political and civil life is underway, and efforts are made to introduce these mechanisms everywhere, especially among young people. Baze Gatherings, youth wings of political parties and other bureaucratic mechanisms are designed to "spoil" the youth, pointing to the "right way" for them.

What does a young man, whose sensitive and pure soul craves for justice, have to do in this situation? According to the adults, justice is an abstract notion, however, it should be there. In the meantime, the widely preached values of the mysterious, romantic "criminal world" start attracting the young man. Everything is simple and clear in this world, which is wrapped in the veil of mystery.

Everyone is equal there, there is "justice", scoundrels are punished: this is their perception. And where else can a young man turn his face? It should be noted that the system established in Armenia presently is attempting at attracting young people into this system of values by their everyday activities and propaganda. This is an easier way to sustain their privileged status.

Armenian educational and scientific institutions in deplorable shape

The following article is a good measuring tool to see where Armenia stands in terms of how the present government prioritizes institutions of Armenia that will have a direct impact on our future.

As the article below states, teachers will receive a raise in their salaries from $152.63 to $200. Of course this is if you are a fulltime teacher, which many are not. Two hundred dollars a month in today’s Armenia still is not a living wage and the $47.37 raise a month is not anywhere close enough to offset the inflation we have seen since their last raise.

And if you are a special education needs student in today’s Armenia, your chances of learning anything or having your needs taken care of are slim to none. In 2007, each student will be allocated $47.54. This is not spent on the student only, but to maintain the building, pay for the electricity, heating this winter and so on. Though the article does not give the numbers, I’m guessing for the non-special education students, Armenia today is investing much less in.

In the area of science, the article reports that in 2007, scientist will be taking home a whole $131.58 and those that are operating personnel in scientific facilities will get to look forward to making $65.79 a month.

It’s clear that today’s Armenian government is not thinking about the future of Armenia, as a government that is thinking of the future, invests much more in the areas that will have a direct impact on our future.


ArmInfo News Agency, Armenia
Nov 7 2006

The draft budget for 2007 envisages 9.6 billion AMD for the education sphere, i.e. by 12.5% more than in the previous year, Pavel Safaryan, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, said at hearings on the draft budget, Tuesday.

He said 1.7 billion AMD ($4,473,684.21) are allocated to the sphere of general education. Salary of teachers will rise from 58,000 to 76,000 AMD ($200) in 2007. 152 million drams will be spent on retraining of teachers of secondary education schools, 500 million AMD for purchase of school furniture, 14.5 million - for capital repair of schools. 813 million AMD will be directed to the special education sphere, 400 million to the secondary special education. Another 324 million AMD will be spent on post-graduate education. The deputy minister said 365 secondary special education schools currently operate in Armenia, and the number of students will rise to 45,000 ($47.54 per student) in 2007.

Five billion drams ($13,157,894.74) will be allocated to the sphere of science, which is by 10% more than in 2006. The basic salary of scientists will rise to 50,000 AMD ($131.58), that of the operating personnel to 25,000 AMD ($65.79). 1.3 billion AMD will be allocated for topical financing of science and 73 billion AMD for target program financing. These funds will be used to develop scientific programs in the defense sphere.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mihran Mahmouzian: “It’s not a semi-catastrophe, it’s a complete catastrophe.”
[November 6, 2006]

Mihran Mahmouzian has been implementing charity projects in Kashatagh for the last seven years. He voiced his concern at facts outlined in earlier articles of Hetq, and arrived in Armenia in September, spending time in Kashatagh as well. He assessed the situation in Kashatagh as catastrophic. The following is an interview with Mihran Mahmouzian.

How long have you been working in Kashatagh?

Unless I'm mistaken, it's been six or seven years now. When we started working in Berdzor, Alexan Hakobyan (the previous head of the Kashatagh regional administration) was there. There was a spring to people's steps then and smiles on their faces. We counted on that a lot, it helped us tremendously – it was wonderful and a very pleasant sight to see. We work with Gurgen Melikyan and Dr. Carolann Najarian – they were the ones who first sent us there. We would go often and eventually completed three projects there – a gymnasium, a park and a camping ground for children. We would help them with clothes too by sending as much of it as we could.

You were in Kashatagh recently – what has changed there?

It was very disappointing… I got a chance to talk to people, including children. Even the children were saying that given the opportunity, they would leave Berdzor. I can guess why… all of Karabakh is talking about it, every single family. I visited ten or twelve families – people are in despair. The people say that the government has not fulfilled any of its promises. I saw houses that had no doors or windows – not even a roof, such that the nighttime rain would flood the house. Many of the families living in these houses have four or five children. You seen pain and worry on people's faces, worry about everyday problems. Nobody in that region is doing anything for those people, except for a few organizations who are trying to ease their difficulties.

From what I saw, it seemed that nobody cared about them at all. They are simply carrying on living, but nobody is sparing a thought about them. This is very sad and very disappointing for people like us, who are doing their best to normalize their lives.

We are do all we can to bring things from the USA to improve the lives of people in that region. But what I saw was very sad. The government is to blame, the officials are supposed to ease the lives of these people – I believe this is their failure.

You met people there and talked to them. What did the people of Kashatagh say?

Of course, I talked to the people in order to understand their difficulties. When I say ‘people' I mean the regular folk with their everyday problems. The first day there, I was happy to be back in Berdzor. The second day, I found out more about the real situation. The third day, I said to myself that I must definitely step outside and find out the reasons behind the problems. I talked to people and concluded that the government was at fault.

It seems like only Yerevan and Stepanakert matter – nobody cares about the other places. You see a family with five children and they tell you that the children are on the streets because they cannot afford to send them to school. They ask me who cares about them. What can I say?

This is not only my opinion. My brother was there month ago, he communicate, back it told me exactly the same things.

Why do you think people are leaving Kashatagh?

Everyone I talked to said that it was for their children's sake. One person said that he was more or less well off, and he was very patriotic, so he would stick it out to the end. A young man said something else, “I was born here and have a child as well. I want my child to grow up here and bring happiness to those around him. My child and I were both born here and we should continue to keep an Armenian presence on this soil. But if things keep going this way I will be forced to leave as well.”

What do they think of this region in the Diaspora?

I don't know. I'm not sure that they know about the situation, because people from the Diaspora usually go to the Marriott Hotel and places like that – they don't go to villages. I hope they will start visiting villages too. This is not only my opinion. My brother was there a month ago and he told me exactly the same things. He said, “Mihran, this is a semi- catastrophe,” and when I was there, I said, no, it's not a semi- catastrophe, this a complete catastrophe.”

Whatever happens, our aid will continue. Naturally I will not lose hope. There are people – schoolteachers, for example – who are very grateful; but overall, the scene is a very sad one. We must not lose hope; we must do everything to help the people forward. We know that that region is very important to us. I do not understand how our government can be so indifferent.

Edik Baghdasaryan


Lragir, Armenia
Nov 6 2006

On November 4 NKR President Arkady Ghukasyan left for the United States for the preparation of the annual telethon in Los Angeles on November 23.

There is special attention in the upcoming telethon. Not because the donations will be spent for the reconstruction of the region of Hadrut. The point is that this year there have been a number of accusations against Armenia Foundation from Karabakh. And a number of questions have occurred. First, why the telethons fail to raise the pledged sum. Second, why the style of work of the foundation has not changed over these years although it is said to be uneffective.

Moreover, uneffectiveness is connected with the lack of confidence.

Third, will the telethon raise sums if a decision was made during the Armenia-Diaspora forum to launch a large-scale project in rural areas?

But this is not the complete list of questions. How will the telethon pass, for this is the first time when the activities of the foundation and its relation with the Karabakh government get a backlash? Will the Armenian Diaspora in Russia take part in the telethon? How will the telethon pass in Europe after the adoption of the law on the Armenian Genocide by the French parliament?

The telethon will tell much about the all-Armenian relations and the all-Armenian organizations. Especially that the topic of these organizations has become a burning issue considering that the terms of office of the presidents of the both Armenian states are ending.

Monday, November 06, 2006


[07:32 pm] 06 November, 2006

Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan uses his administrative and personal means in order to reach his aims. According to Amalya Kostanyan, Armenian representative of "Transparency International", this is political corruption, as according to the definition of the organization, "abuse of the state rank with the aim of personal benefit is corruption".

According to the representative of "Transparency International", the pre-election campaign which has already started non-officially is also political corruption. The data of "Transparency International" claim that the most corrupt field is that of political parties.

The political control over Mass Media, fabrications during the elections, and voting of people who are not registered in the electoral area is also corruption, Amalya Kostanyan announced in the National Press Club.

According to the report of "Transparency International", the Corruption Perceptions Index is 2.9 but our country is among those where corruption is widespread, despite the fact that Armenia has been realizing an anti-corruption strategic program for the last three years. "The investigations carried out in Armenia once in every three years since 1999 show that level corruption is rising", Amalya Kostanyan said.

Nevertheless, the index of Armenia is lower than that of Georgia (2.8), Azerbaijan (2.4) and Turkey (2.8).


[07:50 pm] 06 November, 2006

Another attempt of rejecting the Armenian Genocide was made yesterday in Vercelli, Italy. According to newspaper of "Azdak", Beirut, the exhibition of photos by Armin Vegner about the Armenian Genocide was opened with a delay of 1.5 hours.

A little before the opening of the exhibition a Turkish shop-keeper who lives in Italy tore away the posters, broke into the exhibition hall and tore 5-6 photos; moreover, he beat down the Italian woman working in the hall.

Shortly after that, the police arrested the aggressor.


Nov 06 2006

Armenian agricultural ministry said it will test next year a new antihail system, developed by Armenian engineers, in Armenia's northwestern province of Shirak. The new system, operating on solar energy, was already tested 20 years ago in the region of Talin. The ministry promised also to release finances for installment of new system.

Four or five antihail stations are to be installed in the province, each of which costs $22,000.

Scientists say one antihail system is able to protect about 80 hectares of land under crop from hails. The system transforms hail into rain saving crops from being damaged.

Rural communities in Shirak chosen to have stations in their territory will have to make their input into its assembly and installation. Some 30 rural communities are located in areas targeted usually by hails. Agricultural experts estimate that this year the province has sustained 1.2 billion drams damages from hails.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We Take our Participation at the Conference Very Seriously, But They Don’t

Diaspora Armenians Comment on the 3rd Armenia-Diaspora Conference
[October 30, 2006]

The Third Armenia-Diaspora Conference, held from September 18-21, 2006, was the largest yet in terms of participation (there were 1984 registered participants). The reason for this was perhaps the theme chosen for the conference – it was dedicated to the eradication of poverty in the rural areas of Armenia. The Armenian authorities focused their attention to the regional provinces for the first time, announcing that the revival of villages near the country's borders must be prioritized by providing them with technical and strategic aid. The participants were promised the chance to discuss and debate the policy, structure and means of implementation of the program.

Hetq and the daily newspaper Azg had been publishing a series of reports on the situation in the provincial regions for six months, stressing the problems of poor villages, especially those lying near the country's borders. Although more than sixty such villages in five provincial regions had been described in the articles, only three of them were chosen to be among the fifty villages targeted in the first stage of the Government Program to Eradicate Poverty in Rural Areas, for which the state expected the financial support of those present at the conference. This may be for two reasons – first, that a large proportion of the villages in Armenia are in a state of deterioration and it is difficult to choose one over the other; and second, that in such cases preference has usually depended on personal connections or membership in a political party - these are considered to be important criteria in Armenia.

What did our compatriots from the Diaspora think? To what extent, in their view, was the government justified in expecting to implement this program with the support of the Diaspora? We present some answers to these questions through our interview with American-Armenian businessman Harutyun Bronozyan.

What set this conference apart from the ones that preceded it? To what extent did the content of information during the conference correspond to the issue of poverty eradication in villages near the border? Did the conference meet your expectations?

I was present for a part of the first conference, and hoped that this time it would be more purposeful, more practical – something where you could expect a concrete result, considering that the issue of border villages was raised, a vital issue that had been neglected for a long time. I thought that the government's intentions were very serious this time and that they had specific projects in different villages, which they expected Diaspora Armenians to finance. We would have like to fund such programs, but for that we would like to have information about the villages, to go and see the conditions they are in, clarify the program that was to be implemented, how much funding is required and how the program should be implemented.

Every problem has a solution, but it must be presented well, so that people can understand what they need to do, but this was not done. The speakers at the conference did not have any relation to those problems – there was a lot of abstract and philosophical talk. There was no clear program studied, just unnecessary talk. The speakers were not villagers, nor did they know anything about the problems in those villages. None of the discussions at the conference covered the method of implementation so that you could understand what investments the program required. There were no clear proposals, no directions – just plain conversation, and I don't think there will be results of any kind.

The organizers of the conference published a directory of the villages, prioritized by the need for investment. Did you look through that directory?

No, if such a directory existed, it should have been presented to all the participants at the conference. There should have been a discussion as well as a question-and-answer session, but there was nothing of the sort. A two-day conference cannot solve such problems – people should have gone to those villages after the conference to see everything with their own eyes, to see what needs to be financed there and to make direct contact with the villagers.

Is that only your view alone, or did other participants also think that the conference should have been more practical?

I did not meet anyone who seemed enthusiastic. It was just two days of conversation – they did not even have a poster presentation or a slideshow so that we could see what those villages were like and the purpose for the financing required. The main topic of the conference – the revival of villages near Armenia's borders – was only discussed for 2.5 hours during the two-day conference, when they said that there were 25-30 villages for which they were seeking donations. What needs to be done in those villages, how much funding it requires, how it is going to be done, who will manage the program – nothing was said about any of this.

Were you ready to invest in the program if it had been presented in the way you had expected?

Even now, I am investing in a village in Aragatsotn, sending them equipment to improve water supply, which should benefit around 2,000 villagers. People either do not consider this, or do not want to understand why we come here. We are very serious, but they do not take our presence seriously. This is not an issue of “we” or “you” – it is an issue of the government versus the people. If they are not interested in the people but pretend to be, then the people will not be interested in the government. You cannot solve problems using flowery speeches, and we are not naïve enough to think that something was achieved if all they did is speak for a couple of days. We came to achieve results, but it seems the organizers of the conference were not well selected. Perhaps the Ministry of Economy and Finance should have organized it, or those people implementing projects in the villages. There should have been representatives from the villages to present the conditions in which they live, honestly and clearly. 2,000 people were registered to participate in the conference, but only 10 of them were local Armenians.

The economic forum organized the same week was much more practical. But there needs to be people in order for business to be possible – there needs to be a market – while, on the other hand, emigration from Armenia remains at a high level. The president of the country must reinforce the idea of patriotism in the people's hearts every day. He should give the country a good reputation. If that happens, there won't be the need to invite anyone – people will come of their own accord. Swindling the people and the Diaspora is possible only on a short-term basis.

Sara Petrosyan