CSI carries out activities aimed at promotion and protection of human rights. As a member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), CSI works to promote the establishment of the rule of law and civil society in Armenia.
Main priorities for CSI are,
Protection of human rights in criminal proceedings
Combating ill-treatment and torture
Protection of the right to freedom, fair trial, and the right to life.
We identify cases involving instances of human rights violations, conduct their investigation, follow-up, release statements, and increase public awareness about these issues.
Civil Society Institute has representatives in the public monitoring groups over the penitentiary institutions, special schools, and the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM) group under the Human Rights Defender’s office.
Since 2003, we have been conducting monitoring of closed institutions, penitentiary institutions, disciplinary isolators in the army, special schools, psychiatric institutions, etc. In 2005 Civil Society Institute implemented an advocacy campaign on signing and ratification of the Optional Protocol to UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in Armenia. The campaign resulted in the ratification of the Protocol in 2006.
In 2002 we launched www.hra.am, a bilingual website on human rights which reports on cases of human rights violations across Armenia. It is a daily updated internet portal with articles, news and publications on human rights issues. The website aims to increase public attention to actual problems of human rights in Armenia and serves as a source of information for local and international organizations.
In 2011 CSI supported submission of 9 applications to the European Court of Human Rights. The applications were related to the violation of rights envisaged by several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights such as,
Article 2. Right to life
Article 3. Prevention of torture, or inhuman and degrading treatment
Article 6. Right to fair trial.
Since 2010, CSI initiated activities aimed at the improvement of juvenile justice in Armenia. Our activities involved trial monitoring, organization of trainings and research on pending issues in the area. CSI published a number of books, reports, studies and brochures related to the rights of people deprived of their liberty. The most recent studies conducted by CSI address early conditional release, compassionate release, disciplinary sanctions in the army, ill-treatment and torture towards juveniles, trial monitoring of the cases involving juveniles as defendants. Recommendations on these issues have been developed and presented.
CSI operates a Hotline which provides free legal consultancy on the matters of torture and ill-treatment, fair trial and criminal proceedings. During the election period the Hotline also provides legal assistance concerning electoral processes.