[06:55 pm] 02 May, 2006

The bill referring the problems of the RA national minorities and the
legal mechanisms regulating them is already in effect. The author of
the bill is the RA Government Board representative dealing with the
issues of national minorities and religion.

The bill is an urgent need as in 2000 the RA signed the convention on
the rights of national minorities which prescribes certain privileges
and first of all the existence of an adequate law. The bill is still
being discussed by various ministries. Later it will be presented to
the Government.

A seminar was organized in the hotel "Congress" on this score. The
representatives of Assyrian and Ezdi communities as well as the
representatives of the Government corresponding boards and interested
persons participated in it.

Hranush Kharatyan, the Chief of the RA Government Board on national
minorities and religion, mentioned that there are many legal acts
in all the laws on national minorities, but "their rights aren't
distinctly formulated in any law, and there is no mention about
the characteristics according to which this or that group may be
considered a national minority. Even the Convention doesn't define
their status as each country is to decide it itself."

According to the bill, national minorities must be protected and
financed by the RA State budget.

Only the ethnic communities providing certain number will be
financed. "We attempted to be democratic in connection with
Armenia. Only those communities will be financed where at least two
generations lived, which weren't aggressive and had no problems with
the local inhabitants. According to the second condition, they will
form 15% of the urban or rural population.

Their number must be 200 000 people, both adults and juveniles, so
that they could have at least 3 - 4 pupils in each class and would
be able to educate them," noted Hranush Kharatyan.

Vigen Kocharyan, the member of the European Convention on ethnic
minorities, stated that national minorities fall into 4 groups;
existence and identity preservation, discrimination protection and
provision of engagement into public and state affairs. He mainly
underlined the exclusion of discrimination the provision of which is
very vital in a foreign territory.