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Democracy in Armenia: Praised by International IDEA, Yet Shadowed by Political Imprisonment

Democracy in Armenia: Praised by International IDEA, Yet Shadowed by Political Imprisonment

In a recent interview with Euronews, Seema Shah, Head of the Democracy Assessment (DA) Unit at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), lauded Armenia as an emerging epicenter of democracy in Europe. Shah's positive assessment highlighted Armenia's remarkable progress, especially in the context of freedom of speech, contrasting with a global decline in this fundamental democratic right.

However, this optimistic narrative is accompanied by a complex reality on the ground, where the Armenian government faces accusations of detaining political prisoners and suppressing journalists who report on dissenting voices. Despite the acknowledgment from International IDEA, concerns persist about the state of democracy in Armenia.

Reports indicate that numerous political prisoners are being held in jails across the country, raising questions about the government's commitment to democratic values. The existence of political prisoners challenges the narrative of Armenia's unequivocal democratic success and underscores the importance of addressing human rights concerns within the nation.

In addition to political imprisonment, Armenian journalists find themselves increasingly targeted for reporting on stories that criticize or oppose the government. The suppression of media freedom raises alarms about the health of democracy in Armenia, as a vibrant and independent press is crucial for the functioning of any democratic society.

The juxtaposition of Shah's positive assessment and the on-the-ground challenges paints a nuanced picture of Armenia's democratic journey. The international community, while acknowledging progress, is called upon to remain vigilant and advocate for the protection of human rights and democratic values in Armenia.

Armenia's commitment to democracy should not only be measured by its progress but also by its ability to address internal challenges. The concerns surrounding political prisoners and media repression highlight the importance of an inclusive and transparent democratic process that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens.


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