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Yerevan Disagrees With U.S. Human Rights Criticism

By Emil Danielyan

Official Yerevan on Friday took issue with the latest U.S. criticism of its human rights record expressed in a State Department report, describing it as “exaggerated and one-sided.”

The annual report covering the entire world was released on Monday. It concluded that human rights violations remain a serious problem in Armenia due to its government’s failure to tackle chronic police brutality, ensure the due process of law and eliminate restrictions on press freedom. It specifically criticized the Armenian authorities’ crackdown on the opposition last spring which involved numerous arrests and a violent break-up of an anti-government demonstration in Yerevan.

While disagreeing with the criticism, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Yerevan will take into consideration the report’s findings in its efforts to improve human rights protection in the country.

“Even though the criticism contained in the report is exaggerated and one-sided, it can, as a whole, serve as a basis and guideline for making greater progress in the civil and human rights sphere,” the ministry spokesman, Hamlet Gasparian, said in a statement.

Gasparian did not say which specific parts of the report do not reflect the situation in Armenia.

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