Mechanisms for monitoring and implementing women’s economic and social rights: Lessons learned

Photo Tsovinar Hambardzumyan SquareBy Tsovinar Hambardzumyan
Director of the External Relations Department, Office of the President of Armenia and alumna of the Yerevan School of Political Studies (2006)
28 February 2018

The issue of gender equality has always been in the focus of attention of the international community during the recent times of the human history. And it is quite natural that at the present time, at a new level of the development of civilization it has become even more acute. Under the present day circumstances this issue has become of vital significance for all the nations. Today the willingness of different nations to live in line with the guiding principles of international civilization acquires special importance.

In this context, it is very interesting to observe the national-historical root-causes of the given problem. One of the main characteristic features of the Armenian people is its receptiveness to the best achievements of world civilization, inclination to all-human values, including gender equality.

Armenian famous thinker-scientist, lawmaker and a public man Mkhitar Gosh[1], still in the 12th century, in his “Code of Laws” has provided a number of norms regulating women’s rights. It includes very noteworthy provisions in protection of women especially in the regulations of personal and property relationship of the spouses. In this “Code of Laws” it is stated, “The man is the head of the family. All the family members are led by him. Nonetheless, the power of the man is not despotic or wilful. Both men’s and women’s rights are associated with certain duties toward the other members of the family. The man is obliged to respect the woman, to treat her humanely, to take care of her, to provide her material well-being, to look after her, when she is in a poor health condition, and to demand matrimonial loyalty. The man carried a responsibility for beating the woman”. Mkhitar Gosh conditions gender equality with property relationship. All the possessions acquired during the marriage were considered to be joint property. The man was allowed to turn his wife out without sharing the joint property only in the event of adultery. The woman was allowed to get divorced without sharing the property in the event when the husband was recognized missing for seven consecutive years.

In this “Code of Laws” there is another very interesting fact that is worth mentioning. In this codex of the 12th century the crime was perceived in two senses – legal and spiritual. Having recognized that the crime in the legal sense is also a crime in a spiritual sense, Mkhitar Gosh defines two kinds of punishment – corporeal and spiritual, the first one – for violation of the laws defined by men, the second one – for violation of the laws defined by God. Corporeal punishment assumed fines, imprisonment, beating, life imprisonment, and death penalty as an exceptional punishment. The spiritual one assumed anathema, damnation, curse, degrading and at last confession. At the same time confession was the best chance to beg for mercy and be forgiven by God for the committed crime. This provision equally referred to both men and women, so the men were restrained not only by legal, but also by moral pressure. This codex was one of the greatest monuments of Armenian legal political thought and contained such progressive provisions that are relevant until now. According to it, the punishment should not be targeted at subjecting to torture, suffering, revenging, but to admonishing, educating and correcting.

In 1519 the book was translated into Latin; it was published in Latin (1862) first, and later in Armenian (1880).

In the 13th century another code of laws was devised by Armenian outstanding legislator, diplomat, statesman and historian Smbat Sparapet[2]. In this codex, in addition to the articles on women’s rights provided in the previous one, the exceptional punishment was envisaged for rape, equalled to the state treason. For these two highest crimes the codex established either life imprisonment or death penalty depending on the circumstances.

There are two more historical realities that are worth mentioning. In the Armenian language (grammar), through its whole history of development, there has not been gender category. Unlike many Eastern and European languages, in the grammar of the Armenian language there is no separation into feminine and masculine. At a first glance this has nothing to do with equality of men and women, however, in the view of the fact that the language expresses the mentality of the nation, non-discrimination of the genders in language could be closely connected with the general outlook of its bearers on the issue of gender equality.

It is also noteworthy, that still in 60s of the 19th century, the Armenian theatre of Constantinople was the only one in the region, where the women played women’s parts, while at that time in many countries of the world it was a disgrace for them to go on stage. Moreover, in the Armenian theatre women played not only women’s, but also men’s parts: an Armenian outstanding actress of the time Mrs. Siranush was famed for acting the part of Hamlet.

In the view of the realities stated above, one could conclude that at present time Armenia as a state shouldn’t have had any problems in Armenia in the aspect of women’s rights. In the reality there are plenty of them, which of course are improving during time both in the sense of improving the existing legislation and also its application. The problems are linked to the shortage of implementation mechanisms, the accurate exercising of lawful rights and freedoms of people, as well as people’s distrust to its own law enforcement bodies and the whole legal system. And this mentality has its profound historical roots. In Armenia, which was deprived of statehood for ages, in the course of time a stable oppositional public consciousness was formulated against the foreign invaders, a distrust to their rules and laws, that after acquiring statehood was automatically directed to its own authorities and the whole legal system, accusing them for ineffective governance and corrupted law-enforcement system.


Since the very first days of its independence, Armenia has been committed to the protection and promotion of Human Rights. Armenia has signed and ratified all core international documents on Human Rights issues. A number of these international instruments are aimed at the protection of women’s rights and the enhancement of their role in society. These include UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on Equal Remuneration of Work, Convention on Discrimination in the Labour Field and Employment, Convention on Nationality of a Married Woman, Convention on Discrimination in Education, and recently signed Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (signed by Armenia in January 2018).

Armenia has also ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) and its two Optional Protocols, namely the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings[3].

In January 25, 2001 Armenia became a full member of the Council of Europe. This indicates that the country has made considerable progress in setting up a pluralistic political system, establishing the rule of law and in observing Human Rights and fundamental freedoms.

A special working group was set up with the purpose of reforming the legislative system of Armenia and its harmonization to the European standards. At present almost the whole package of obligations before the Council of Europe is fulfilled, however there are still some new obligations that remain unfulfilled in the sphere of national legislation.

Armenia’s cooperation with the Council of Europe in the Human Rights field is continuous; the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2015-2018 is under implementation now, which is crucial in the context of democratic reforms.

The main tools for ensuring gender equality in the Republic of Armenia are the Law “On ensuring equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men” adopted in 2013 and the Gender Policy Concept Paper approved by the Government of the Republic of Armenia in 2010.

The Armenian national legislation affirms the idea of “equality” of rights for everyone in all spheres of vital activity, which includes equal entitlements for men and women to health care, education, economic opportunities, employment, administration of justice.

Key pillar of legal reforms in Armenia is the set of amendments to the Constitution adopted on 6 December 2015 through Referendum, which reaffirmed consti­tutional guarantees for protection of women’s rights. The Constitution, in particular, stipulates the principle of legal equality between women and men[4] and one of the main objectives of State policy in the economic, social, and cultural spheres is promotion of actual equality between women and men.

Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the RA is fully devoted to the Basic Rights and Freedoms of the Human Being and the Citizen[5]. Article 5[6] of the Constitution establishes the prevalence of international treaties signed and ratified by Armenia over national laws. Article 28 and 29 of the Constitution establish that “Everyone shall be equal before the law. Discrimination based on sex, race, skin colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion, world view, political or other views, belonging to a national minority, property status, birth, disability, age, or other personal or social circumstances shall be prohibited”.

The 2011-2015 Gender Policy Strategic Programme approved by the Government of the Republic of Armenia of 20 May 2011 and the 2011-2015 National Action Plan on Combating Gender-Based Violence approved by the Government of the Republic of Armenia of 17 June 2011 have essential significance for prioritization of gender mainstreaming as a strategy for promoting the gender policy and ensuring the prevention of the phenomenon of domestic violence.

The Law “On prevention of domestic violence and protection of the victims of domestic violence” has been developed by the working group created by the Government Decree No 567-A, dated June 28, 2016. Law was adopted by National Assembly in December 2017. The Law is in line with the provisions of the Council of Europe “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”.

Before adoption, the Draft Law has been posted on website for public discussions (Drafts of legal acts, developed by state agencies of the RA are placed on the unified website for public discussions). Offline discussions have launched at the beginning of September 2017. After October 9, 2017 opinions of public discussions has been summarized and the Draft Law was sent to the Government for approval. It is worth mentioning that any action concerning the protection of women’s rights is carried out with active participation of NGOs and civil society. This also refers to the reports, prepared by the Republic of Armenia and submitted to the United Nations treaty bodies, the drafts of which – pursuant to the established practice – are always discussed with representatives of NGOs and members of the civil society.

In any state the reformation process is an on-going one. In this respect, it is very important to ensure the compliance of national legislation with the norms enshrined in international instruments during the drafting process. The legislation of Armenia does not stipulate a specific procedure regarding harmonization of laws with either the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination against Women or other documents on Human Rights. Nonetheless these documents are international treaties, and according to Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, in case of conflict between the norms of international treaties ratified by the RA and those of laws, the norms of international treaties shall apply[7].

However, the Inter­na­­tional treaties contradicting the Constitution may not be ratified[8]. The question of the compliance of an international treaty with the Constitution is to be determined by the Constitutional Court of Armenia. According to Paragraph 3 of the Article 168[9] of the Constitution as well as the Paragraph 2 of the Article 68[10] of the Law “On the Constitutional Court of the RA”, the Constitutional Court of Armenia shall, before an international treaty is ratified, determine whether the commitments stipulated there are in compliance with the Constitution. It is obvious that the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia ensures the compliance of the legislation with international treaties and agreements (including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international documents on Human Rights).

In Armenia it is also an established practice to submit draft legislation to international experts in order to determine its compliance with international obligations of the Republic of Armenia, especially those in the field of Human Rights. In 2014, Armenia adopted Law “On identification of and support to persons subjected to trafficking in human beings and exploitation”.

Trafficking is not one event, but a series of constitutive acts and circumstances implicating a wide range of actors. It is essential that anti-trafficking measures take account of this fact and that efforts be made to address the entire cycle of trafficking. Its components, such as illegal border crossing and the preparation of forged documents, are punishable under current Armenian legislation. Illegal border crossing: Article 329 of the Criminal Code stipulates that crossing the guarded state border of the Republic of Armenia without relevant documents or permits, is punished with a fine in the amount of 100-200 minimal salaries or imprisonment for up to 3 years; extortion: Article 182 stipulates correctional labor for the term of up to 2 years, up to the imprisonment for the term of 6 to 10 years, with property confiscation[11]; falsification of documents is punishable by correctional labor for the term of up to 1 year, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 2 years[12]. Illegal entrepreneurial activities (activities without state registration or license) are punishable by fines or imprisonment, depending on the severity and circumstances[13]. Armenia prohibits both sex trafficking and labour trafficking through Articles 132 and 132 (2) of its Criminal Code[14], which prescribe penalties of 5 to 15 years' imprisonment – penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. In latest amendments to the Criminal Code in March 2011, Armenia strengthened its anti-trafficking statutes; the amendments increased the amount of time a trafficking offender must serve before being eligible for an early release, introduced a separate article specifically prohibiting trafficking of children and persons with mental disabilities, and introduced new punitive sanctions against traffickers that deprive them of the right of employment in certain occupations or practice certain activities for up to three years. The new Article 132 (3) prohibits using of service of a person in a state of exploitation[15].

The Armenian Government declared fight against human trafficking as a priority and during these years initiated numerous reforms on national level as well as closely cooperated with all International organizations active in the field. Activities aimed at fighting human trafficking in Armenia are coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Council on Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings and Exploitation. While the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out the management of activities of the Working Group adjunct to the Council, representatives of all the line ministries and stakeholder agencies are involved as members of this Council and WG. The representatives of the relevant non-governmental and International organizations accredited in Armenia actively participate in Council's and WG works.

At policy level, starting from 2004, Armenia has adopted several National Action Plans (NAP), covering the periods 2004-2006, 2007-2009, 2010-2012 and 2013-2015, respectively. The fifth NAP covering the period of 2016-2018 was adopted in April 2016 and defines a comprehensive set of goals aimed at; improving the legislative framework to tackle child labour; improving public awareness at border-crossing points, healthcare and educational institutions; and implementing capacity building activities for child care and protection institutions, regional governments and local self-government bodies.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund, has developed a training module on Domestic Violence for holding training courses for social workers.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia adopted the Law “On social assistance”, which defines the concept of “domestic violence” and relevant provisions on social assistance to be provided to persons subjected to domestic violence.

Under the Programme approved by Decision of the Civil Service Council of the Republic of Armenia No 567-A of 8 July 2008, every year, more than 150 civil servants holding highest, chief, leading, junior positions have undergone training courses on “Gender Violence”, organized by the National Institute of Labour and Social Research of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

Until the adoption of the Law “On prevention of violence within the family, protection of victims of violence within the family and restoration of peace in the family” in December 2017, there have been no specific regulations on domestic violence, and the Criminal Code regulated acts of violence against women in general. In January 2018, Armenia signed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, thus, becoming the 45th member state of the Council of Europe to sign the Istanbul Convention[16].

Although the reported rates of crimes against women are very low, domestic violence persists as a serious problem. According to the Human Rights Watch 2018 Report, the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women reported at least four women killed by their partners or family members in the first half of 2017, and at least 50 killed between 2010 and 2017. The Coalition received 5,299 calls about domestic violence incidents through September 2017. In the same period, police received 602 complaints of various types of violence within the family and investigated 142 instances. The authorities brought criminal charges in 31 cases[17]. It is generally acknowledged that these crimes are underreported because of the desire to keep the family together for the sake of the children, financial dependence, or simple fear of public opinion.

Other than that, the legal system, as a whole is not trusted in Armenia and consequently not widely exercised. This is true for both women and men. The reason for such a public attitude towards the legal system in general and particularly towards the option to use courts for the protection of Human Rights and Freedoms lies in two spheres. Psychologically, it is due to the negative historical experience and practically it is due to the low level of legal education among the population and corruption among law enforcement authorities.

Women and employment: The transition of Armenia to a market economy is not a gradual process but a chaotic one. Global restructuring of economy, the collapse of traditional industrial ties, and the closure of enterprises resulted in mass unemployment, migration and drastic impoverishment of the population. Women have appeared to be the most vulnerable to these radical changes.

According to the National Statistics Service of Armenia, in the period from January-September 2017 the number of unemployed in Armenia was 204.2 thousand people, 101.6 thousand of them women[18].

Today among all the social programs being implemented in the country, there is a lack of programs focused on the employment of women. One of the most important goals of the Government of Armenia is to eradicate the root causes of existing problems particularly those that affect the overall situation of women in Armenia. The reduction of poverty is key to this and to other challenges for Armenia. Armenia with its 98-99% literacy rate has a poverty rate of about 32.4% (according to the UN)[19].

According to the UNFPA's “Diagnostic Study on Discrimination against Women in Armenia 2015-2016”, women earn 35.9% less than what men are paid, meanwhile, in the EU member countries, there is a gender wage gap of 15.9 percent[20]. “Women are involved in mostly non-competitive areas (agriculture, education, health, and culture) where wages are lower than (national) average. In the financial, IT sector, where wages are relatively high, jobs are held mainly by men.

In 2015, National Institute of Labour and Social Research of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia carried out “Study of the situation with regard to ensuring equal opportunities and equal accessibility to economic resources for women and men in the labour market” with the funds of the State Budget of the Republic of Armenia. Its results allowed developing recommendations on structural reforms of the social and economic sphere, aimed at addressing the problems encountered in the process of enhancing women’s competitiveness and reducing professional discrimination. According to the analysis of different sectors of the economy, majority of the employed (both men and women) is employed in public or communal sectors. Moreover, in most cases, married people work in these fields, especially married women, because jobs in these sectors are relatively stable.

The majority of men, regardless of their marital status, are paid 66.000-120.000 AMD ($140-250), and the majority of women - up to 66,000 AMD ($140). Only a small number of women earn 200.000-400.000 AMD ($415-830).

The Study recommends the Government facilitating the implementation of programs aimed at the development of women entrepreneurship, as well as creation of jobs for women in “men-dominated” fields. The Study also recommends taking measures for ensuring possibility of combining work with child care, through expansion of child care nets and promotion of better work-life balance and flexible working arrangements.

Recommendations made were included in the RA Government Decision on Approval of Draft “2018-2022 Strategy and Action Plan on Implementation of the Policy of Ensuring Women and Men Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities in the Republic of Armenia”, which was submitted to the Office to the President of the RA for harmonization in January 2018.

The Employment Strategy of the Republic of Armenia for 2013-2018 defines a requirement for increasing the minimum salary (bringing the mechanisms for determining the minimum salary in Armenia in line with international standards, taking into account also the macro-economic situation in the country, the level of labour productivity, as well as the stable trends of these indicators), aiming at the improvement of the standard of living of the population through increasing income gained as a result of employment and introducing mechanisms of equitable distribution.

Increase in the minimum salary will reduce high dispersion of salaries existing in the economy, as well as the gender pay gap which is conditioned by both a high level of involvement of women in sectors with low productivity and the fact of holding by women lower positions.

Women and Family: By virtue of different problems women find themselves in less mobile and consequently non-competitive situations in the labour market. This resulted in the decrease in the standard of living conditions, the creation of vulnerable groups (mainly single mothers) and increases in the numbers within these groups.

The social security means and benefits are reduced to the minimum for such categories as single mothers, mothers with more than one child and the physically challenged. The existing poverty family benefit system doesn’t involve all vulnerable groups of the population. Altogether this tendency to reduce budgets can also be observed in the remaining spheres: health, education and culture. In the healthcare sphere, for example, there is a specific government resolution determining that starting from April 2004, free medical services must be provided to families registered in the poverty family benefit system, to the physically challenged persons, to children of families with numerous children, to physically challenged children, to children of single parent, children without parental care, members of families of deceased soldiers[21].

There are three types of benefits in Armenia, i.e. family benefits, social benefits and emergency assistance, which are counted by the vulnerability assessment formula, and granted to the families based on family’s vulnerability assessment unit (calculated automatically and based on the data in the Family Vulnerability Assessment Database).

The benefits are distributed in the following way:

  1. poor families with one child only are eligible for the family benefits;
  2. poor families with no children are eligible for the social benefits;
  3. emergency assistance is granted either in one-time payment (to the families eligible for family or social benefits, in an event of childbirth or passing away of a working-age family member) or in quarterly granted payment (to the families which are not eligible for aforesaid two types of benefits, to address their short-term issues).

In 2017, 39.498 bln AMD ($82 mln) were allocated by the RA budget for the benefits, compared to 32.324 bln AMD ($67 mln) in 2009. According to statistical data, presented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, in 2017 15.28% of all the registered families in Armenia were eligible for the benefits, compared to 19.16% in 2009. In 2017, the average benefit amounted to 31.350 AMD ($65), compared to 23.560 AMD ($49) in 2009 (inflation rate is not considered).

It should be noted that here we anticipate certain improvements because presently the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of RA together with International organizations are drafting and implementing various programs.

Here I would like to mention that the Government of Armenia carries out reforms in the field of child protection. In the reform implementation process the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs works closely with international organizations – UNICEF, USAID, and also with Save the Children, World Vision, and Caritas. Today the Ministry cooperates with the UNICEF, UNFPA to identify 2018 cooperation and assistance framework. UNICEF assists the Government in addressing the gaps in implementation of the rights of all children. UNFPA focuses on assistance in three fields – reproductive health and rights, population and development strategies, and gender equality.

Armenia works also with the UNHCR on the programs aimed at the provision of employment to the refugees, which is crucial in addressing the main issues of the refugees (particularly Syrian Armenians).

Collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) is implemented in the areas of employment and “social partnership”. The ILO encourages tripartite social dialogue between the Government, workers and employers. The ILO provides assistance to the Government of Armenia in the development and realization of the programs enhancing the employment, fulfilment of the international commitments taken by Armenia.

In Armenia there is no specific policy targeted at girl children. The activities of the Government and civil society are aimed at all children regardless of gender. This applies also to access to health care and social facilities for children. The Armenian Constitution underscores the principle of equal right for education[22].

The most important issues to be addressed in 2018 in protection of women’s rights and those of the families are: the development of the measures on the enforcement of the Law on Prevention of Violence within the Family, Protection of Victims of Violence within the Family and Restoration of Peace in the Family; the implementation of measures for the provision of assistance to the victims of violence; the provision of the institutional framework and capacity-building.

Armenia is still in the third decade of its independence and drastic changes could hardly be expected in such a short time. However, the Government is committed to the betterment of the situation of women and securing de-jure and de-facto gender equality.

It’s hardly possible to underestimate the global nature of Human Rights issues concerning women and gender equality and its paramount nature for the civilized world community. Equality is universal value, and only strong commitments of governments and political willingness to implement and support international norms in gender equality can guarantee full enjoyment of Human Rights worldwide.

[1] Mkhitar Gosh (1130–1213) is one of the prominent representatives of the Armenian Renaissance. His “Code of Laws” (1184) became moral code as a guidance for all Armenians over the world because of high moral spirit, reflecting Armenian mentality. The work is written in the Ancient Armenian. The composition of this work includes, without any system and guiding thread, the Armenian national customs, canons of the Armenian and Orthodox Church, the laws of Moses, as well as translation of the Syrian-Roman laws, except for the laws of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Code of Laws by Mkhitar Gosh has received binding force in the XIII century in Cilician Armenia. The Code has reached our days in numerous forms, which are stored in the Matenadaran (the state repository of ancient manuscripts) in Yerevan, as well as in the libraries of Venice, Vienna and other cities.

[2] Smbat Sparapet (1208-1276) was a noble in Cilician Armenia acting as a diplomat, judge, and military officer, holding the title “Sparapet”, Supreme commander of the Armenian armed forces. Until 1265, when he wrote his Code, public relations in Cilician Armenia were regulated by Mkhitar Gosh’s “Code of Laws”. The necessity of a new Code was dictated by new realities in the public system, as well as by the big difference between the Cilician Armenian and ancient Armenian lgngiages. In his Code, Smbat Sparapet reflected economic and political needs of the time with innovative ideas. The Code had certain classification compared to Mkhitar Gosh’s Code. Smbat Sparapet's Code, with its progressive ideas, has its valuable place among the prominent Armenian thought of the Middle Ages. Two manuscripts are held in Matenadaran and in Mkhitarian Congregation of Vinice. It was published in Armenian for the first time in 1918.

[3] Ratified in 2008 by Armenia in 2008.

[4] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. Article 30. Legal Equality of Women and Men: "Women and men shall enjoy legal equality."

[5] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.

[6] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. Article 5. The Hierarchy of Legal Norms: "The Constitution shall have supreme legal force. Laws must comply with constitutional laws, whereas secondary regulatory legal acts must comply with constitutional laws and laws. In case of conflict between the norms of international treaties ratified by the Republic of Armenia and those of laws, the norms of international treaties shall apply."

[7] see footnote 5, p. 4

[8] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. Article 116. Ratification, Suspension or Revocation of International Treaties. "International treaties contradicting the Constitution may not be ratified."

[9] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. Article 168. Powers of the Constitutional Court: "The Constitutional Court, as prescribed by the Law on the Constitutional Court, shall: ..(3) prior to the ratification of an international treaty, determine the compliance of the commitments enshrined therein with the Constitution"

[10] The Law of the Republic of Armenia On The Constitutional Court. Article 68. "The constitutionality of the National Assembly Decisions on the ratification of the International Treaties of the Republic of Armenia can be challenged only from the perspective of meeting the requirements for the adoption of such decisions determined by the Constitution."

[11] Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. Article 182. Extortion. "Extortion, i.e. the threat to publicize defamatory information or information inflicting significant damage to the person’s or his relatives’ rights or legal interests, the threat to use violence against the person or his relatives, or to destroy (damage) the property owned or managed by the person, his relatives or other persons, with a demand to surrender the property rights, or other actions involving property, is punished with correctional labour for the term of up to 2 years, or with arrest for the term of up to 3 months, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 4 years and a fine for the amount of up to 50 minimal salaries or without that." "...(5) committed by a person with two or more convictions for crimes envisaged in  Articles 175-182, 222, 234, 238, 269 of this Code, is punished with imprisonment for the term of 6 to 10 years, with property confiscation."

[12] Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. Article 325. Forgery, sale or use of forged documents, stamps, seals, letter-heads, vehicle license plates. "Forgery of an official document which grants rights or exempts from liability, or any other official document, by the forger or other person for the purpose of using, or selling such a document or forgery and sale of seals, signs, letter-heads or license plates for the same purpose, as well as, the use of an obviously forged document, is punished with a fine in the amount of 200 to 400 minimal salaries, or correctional labour for the term of up to 1 year, or with imprisonment for the term of up to 2 years."

[13] Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. Article 188. Illegal entrepreneurial activity. "Entrepreneurial activities without state registration or without special permit (license), when such a special permit (license) is mandatory, accompanied with infliction of a large damage to the citizens, commercial organizations or to the state, is punished with a fine in the amount of 200 to 400 minimal salaries, or with an arrest for the term of 2 to 3 months.

The same act accompanied with infliction of a large damage to the citizens, commercial organizations or to the state: is punished with a fine for the amount of 300 to 500 minimal salaries, or deprivation of  the right to hold certain posts or practice certain activities for up to 3 years and with or without a fine in the amount of 50  minimal salaries, or imprisonment for the term of up to 2 years.

The same act accompanied with: infliction of a particularly large damage to the citizens, commercial organizations or to the state, committed by an organized group, is punished with a fine in the amount of 800-1000 minimal salaries, or deprivation of  the right to hold certain posts or practice certain activities for up to 5 years, with or without a fine in the amount of 50 minimal salaries, or imprisonment for the term of up to 3 years.

By significant loss, this Article means the amount of 500 to 1000 minimal salaries, by large loss, 1000-2000 minimal salaries, by particularly large loss, over 2000 minimal salaries."

[14] Human Trafficking Related Articles in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia.

[15] Human Trafficking Related Articles in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia.

[16] Armenia signs the Istanbul Convention.

[17] World Report 2018 - Human Rights Watch.

[18] Labor Market Indicators (in Armenian).

[19] About Armenia.

[20] UNFPA Armenia presented its new gender gap study. (in Armenian

[21] Decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia on Free Medical Treatment (in Armenian).

[22] Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. Article 38. Right to Education: "Everyone shall have the right to education. The programmes and duration of compulsory education shall be prescribed by law. Secondary education within state educational institutions shall be free of charge. Everyone shall, in the cases and under the procedure prescribed by law, have the right to receive free education on a competitive basis within state higher and other vocational education institutions. Higher education institutions shall, within the scope prescribed by law, have the right to self-governance, including academic and research freedom."