Amid ongoing tension with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, controversy is growing in Armenia about a proposal that would liberalize the terms of alternative service for religiously motivated conscientious objectors to the draft.
Increasingly the issue of domestic violence in Armenia is a topic for public discussion. Yet, greater attention to the issue isn’t yet translating into an expansion of programs to alleviate suffering and address policy shortcomings.
Six years ago, Armenia pledged that thousands of children institutionalized in state-run orphanages for reasons of poverty would be returned to their biological families, or placed with foster families. But, today, little has changed for most of these children.
Armenian officials tend to be quick to voice concern over the destruction or deterioration of Armenian churches and monasteries in neighboring Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. But conservationists complain that the same officials who sound the alarm about sites abroad, often are reticent about preservationist challenges within Armenia itself.
Business investors from Armenia’s far-flung diaspora, a key engine for the South Caucasus country’s sluggish economy, increasingly are expressing frustration with what they describe as Armenia’s corrupt judicial system and state bureaucracy. The government, for its part, asserts that it promotes favorable conditions for diaspora investors.
Reactions to a recent arson attack on a gay-friendly bar in Yerevan are raising concerns among civil liberties advocates that Armenia’s political establishment is indirectly encouraging intolerance and violence toward lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.