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Armenia’s New Strategy to Help Those in Pain

February 17, 2017

Human Rights Watch: Armenia’s New Strategy to Help Those in Pain
Urgent Legal Changes Are Next Step to Get Treatment to Those in Need

Giorgi Gogia
About 8,000 people die from cancer in Armenia every year, many spending their last days in excruciating pain.
But Armenia is taking an important step towards ending their suffering, and the government recently adopted a national strategy to introduce palliative care services, which focuses on treating pain and other physical symptoms, and provides psychosocial support for people with life-limiting illnesses. The strategy specifies reforms in policy, education, and medicines’ availability, and designates the responsible state institutions.
In July 2015, Human Rights Watch released a report showing the impact of untreated pain and lack of support services on the lives of cancer patients in Armenia. I interviewed many people who were dying – in horrible pain. Among them was Lyudmila, a 61-year-old kindergarten teacher. Her words were deeply personal:
“The pain attacks start unexpectedly and I start screaming and become a different person. … When it starts I can’t speak, I have pain attacks every night…. It’s inhumane pain, unbearable pain for a human being…”
Her experience was not an exception.
When curative treatment is no longer effective, patients with advanced cancer in Armenia are simply sent home. Abandoned by the health care system at arguably the most vulnerable time of their lives, people with life-limiting illnesses face pain, fear, and anguish without professional support. The support they need is palliative care.
Morphine, the mainstay medication for treating severe pain, is inexpensive and easy to administer, but fewer than 3 percent of those who need morphine in Armenia get it. That’s because the government has put in place nearly insurmountable bureaucratic barriers around the prescribing and dispensing of morphine.
The Armenian government has long recognized the need for palliative care, but regrettably it has taken officials over three years to develop and adopt the strategy and action plan.
The strategy recognizes the need to amend regulations restricting access to pain relief medications, and the government plans to review them in 2018. But thousands of cancer patients in Armenia have waited long enough.
Armenian authorities should urgently overhaul the regulations and promptly take the necessary steps to ensure that cancer patients can get the pain treatment they need – and to which they have the right.



A public discussion on “The Right to be Free from Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”

December 7, 2016

The Partnership for Open Society Initiative, representing more than 60 civil society organizations, is pleased to invite you to participate in a public discussion on “The Right to be Free from Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”.

The event will take place on December 12, 2016, at 2:00 p.m, at DoubleTree by Hilton Yerevan Hotel (Grigor Lusavorich 4/2, Yerevan Armenia).

During the event, civil society representatives will present their observations about the periodic review of Armenia on the implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment held during the 59th Session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture on 23-24 November, 2016, in Geneva.

During the presentation, civil society experts will share concerns on use of torture and ill-treatment as well as will share recommendations aimed at improvement of both legislation and practice.

Representatives of the RA Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MoJ Penitentiary Service, Police, Special Investigation Service, Investigation Committee, Prosecutor’s General, Judicial Department, Courts National Assembly, Human Rights Defender and other agencies, diplomatic missions, international organizations, civil society and media are invited to attend the event.

The draft agenda of the event is enclosed to the invitation. Simultaneous translation from Armenian to English and vice versa is provided.

Please inform about your decision to participate in the public discussion by 12:00, December 9, 2016, contacting Ms. Karine Ghazaryan at karine@osi.am; or at 010 533862.

We look forward to your participation and contribution to the discussion.

Sincerely yours,

Larisa Minasyan

Partnership for Open Society Initiative member
Executive Director of the Open Society Foundations – Armenia

Agenda of the event is enclosed.



“Personal Data Protection in Armenia and Georgia: Challenges and Priority Areas”

December 5, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The Committee Protect Freedom of Expression NGO and Open Society Foundations – Armenia are pleased to invite you to participate in a public discussion entitled “Personal Data Protection in Armenia and Georgia: Challenges and Priority Areas”, which will take place on December 6, 2016, at 11:00 at Ball Room of the Best Western Congress Hotel (address: Italy street 1).

The discussion aims to present the experience, role and functions of the Armenian and Georgian Agencies for Protection of Personal Data. The keynote speakers will be Shushan Doydoyan, the Head of the Agency for Protection of Personal Data of the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, and Tamar Kaldani, Personal Data Protection Inspector of Georgia. Mrs. Doydoyan will present the activities and priority areas of the Armenian Data Protection Agency. Mrs. Kaldani will present the Georgian experience with a focus on involvement in visa liberalization process, partnership with EU institutions, budgetary issues, as well as results achieved in different fields.

The opening speech will be delivered by the First Deputy Minister of Justice of RA, and the Executive Director of OSF-Armenia.

Agenda of the event is enclosed to the invitation. Simultaneous two-way Armenian-English translation will be provided.
We would appreciate if you could kindly inform about your participation at info.cpfe@gmail.com or ashot.cpfe@gmail.com.
Best regards,

Ashot Melikyan
Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Chairman

Agenda of the event is enclosed.



“The Program of the Government of the Republic of Armenia 2016: Civil Society Perspectives.”

November 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The Partnership for Open Society Initiative, representing more than 60 civil society organizations, is pleased to invite you to participate in a public discussion on “the Program of the Government of the Republic of Armenia 2016: Civil Society Perspectives.”

The event will take place on November 2, 2016, at 15:00, Congress Hotel, Ball room (1st Italy Street, Yerevan).

During the event, the representatives of civil society will present their observations and remarks about the human rights, justice, fight against corruption, LSG, education and foreign policy sections of the Government Program – 2016 approved by the National Assembly on October 21, 2016, and recommendations for comprehensive, effective and accountable governance.

Representatives of the RA Government, National Assembly, judicial system, diplomatic missions, international organizations, civil society and media are invited to attend the event.

The draft agenda of the event is enclosed to the invitation. Simultaneous translation from Armenian to English and vice versa is provided.

We look forward to your participation and contribution to the discussion.

Sincerely yours,

Larisa Minasyan
Partnership for Open Society Initiative member
Executive Director of the Open Society Foundations – Armenia

Draft agenda of the event is enclosed.



Essay Contest

October 3, 2016

Sorry, this post is available only in Armenian.


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