Committee considered the initial report of Armenia on the implementation
of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(E/1990/5/Add.36) at its 38th-40th meetings, held on 22 and 23 November
1999 (twenty-first session), and adopted, at its 53rd meeting, held
on 1 December 1999, the following concluding observations.
Committee welcomes the submission of the initial report by the State
party which conforms generally to the guidelines established by
the Committee. The Committee appreciates the submission of written
replies by the State party to its list of issues. It also notes
with satisfaction the efforts made by the State party's delegation
to answer with openness and candour the questions put to it during
the dialogue. However, the Committee regrets that the delegation
was not able to provide more detailed information and concrete facts
and statistics in response to the list of issues submitted by the
Committee to the Government 11 months earlier, or to answer in a
satisfactory manner all the questions asked by Committee members
during the dialogue.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes the willingness and efforts of the State
party to comply with its obligations under the Covenant and acknowledges
with appreciation the efforts made by the Government of Armenia
to cope with the consequences of the many difficulties, in particular
the natural disasters and armed conflicts, that have led to its
current deteriorated economic, social and political situation.
Committee welcomes the fact that despite the aforementioned difficulties
faced by the Government, cultural rights in general continue to
be promoted and developed in Armenia.
Committee also notes with satisfaction the equal treatment of refugees
and Armenian citizens in the exercise of economic, social and cultural
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
Committee acknowledges the serious negative effects of the difficult
social, economic and political circumstances which the Government
of Armenia has faced for over a decade.
Committee also notes the obstacles arising from the trade blockade
imposed by a number of its neighbouring countries, which have led
to a reduction of trade activities in Armenia.
D. Principal subjects of concern
Committee is concerned about the legal status of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Armenian
national legal order. The Committee regrets that the delegation
has not been able to clarify the position of the Covenant in Armenian
law, nor to provide any specific references to cases in which the
Covenant has been invoked in national courts of law.
Committee is particularly concerned about the slow and complicated
process required for the adoption of new legislation which aims
to give effect to economic, social and cultural rights in accordance
with the State party's obligations under the Covenant.
Committee is also concerned about the fact that despite equality
between men and women before the law, there are still discrepancies
in practice in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights
by men and women. For instance, despite the high level of education
enjoyed by women and the high number of professionally qualified
women, the unemployment rate of women remains high and there is
a relatively low percentage of women in high-level positions, particularly
Committee regrets that the replies provided by the Government in
written form, as well as during the dialogue, have not brought sufficient
clarity regarding the exact situation of employment in Armenia.
In particular, the Committee was not provided with concrete data
and statistics adequately reflecting the actual status of the implementation
of articles 6 to 8 of the Covenant, such as the increase or decrease
of the unemployment rate over a period of time, and the adequacy
of the minimum wage for securing minimum subsistence for workers
and their families.
Committee is deeply concerned about the inadequate efforts being
made with regard to the crisis in the housing situation in Armenia,
owing to, inter alia, the damage caused by the 1988 earthquake,
as well as the influx of refugees.
Committee regrets the lack of statistics with regard to the implementation
of the rights to food, housing, health and education, as a result
of which they could not be evaluated sufficiently by the Committee.
Committee regrets that the information provided by the Government
of Armenia has not been sufficient to clarify why there has been
a general deterioration in the health of the Armenian people, especially
among the women, why budgetary allocations for health have been
decreasing, and the causes and consequences of a high occurrence
of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
addition, the Committee is alarmed by the fact that abortion remains
the most commonly used means of family planning in the country owing,
in particular, to inadequate education and the high cost of contraceptives.
Committee notes with concern the marked decline in the percentage
of government allocations for education relative to allocations
for other sectors. The Committee is also concerned about the increase
of the fee-paying educational sector.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
Committee recommends that the Government of Armenia provide more
specific and detailed data which are up to date and, where necessary,
disaggregated by gender, relating to the rights set forth in the
Covenant. The Committee requests the Government to provide the data
specifically requested on housing, food, health and education within
six months after the adoption of the present concluding observations.
Committee requests the Government of Armenia to provide more information,
in its second periodic report, on the exact status of the Covenant
in the Armenian national legal system, and that it undertake measures
to define the relationship between Armenia's international legal
obligations and its national legislation.
Committee recommends that family planning programmes be set up for
women, in particular to decrease the incidence of abortion, along
with programmes for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Furthermore,
the Committee requests the Government to take measures which will
promote employment for women and their greater participation in
Committee also recommends that the Government of Armenia take measures
to ensure that the quality of the Armenian education system is monitored
and guaranteed, particularly in private educational institutions,
which have increased in number.
addition, human rights education should be ensured in curricula
at all levels of education, as well as in relevant public institutions
such as the judiciary, administrative bodies and the police force.
Committee suggests that the Government of Armenia avail itself more
actively of technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant United Nations specialized
agencies and programmes, particularly in the preparation of its
second periodic report to the Committee.
Committee would also like to draw the attention of the Government
of Armenia to the need to include in their forthcoming periodic
report the necessary supporting statistical data on the evolution
of the economy, personal incomes, and the state of nutrition, housing,
health and education in the country.
the Committee requests the State party to disseminate its concluding
observations widely among all levels of society and to inform the
Committee on all steps taken to implement them. It also urges the
Government of Armenia to consult with non-governmental organizations
in the preparation of the second periodic report.