National network of Advocacy and Assistance Centers (AAC) as a network of anticorruption centers operated by NGOs act in Yerevan and all marzes of Armenia. Those who have become victims of corruption or met corruption manifestations can receive free legal advice and support.
iravaban.net talked to Yerevan AAC director/senior lawyer Marat Atovmyan.
– Since when has AAC been operating in Yerevan?
Armenian Young Lawyers Association has been operating the AAC in Yerevan since August 2012.
– What are the main issues that people bring to the AAC?
Various issues; civil disputes, social security, labor rights, healthcare issues.
– How do you implement human rights advocacy?
When needed, we sent queries to government agencies. Some cases are channeled to prosecution or police to get an analysis and evaluation of the case. In cases of actual corruption, we provide a attorney to represent citizens in court. We support people to apply to court independently or defend themselves in court.
– How well are Yerevan residents aware of their rights?
Our various meetings have shown that there are groups that are well aware of their rights and pursue their protection, but it’s not a big number of citizens.
– Does AAC take actions for raising civil awareness of citizens?
We organize meetings at various educational institutions like schools, colleges to discuss corruption, hold seminars. We distribute information materials to citizens. We also prepare programs to raise citizen awareness on their rights.
– What success stories have you accomplished with the AAC?
We have quite a few. For example, in one of the case a police officer was punished for violating a citizen right. We have had issues with pension, where we managed to get the client’s pension raised.
– Based on AAC-received complaints analysis, in what areas are there more corruption risks in Yerevan?
It is hard to say definitely. We have cases related to town hall, cadastre, and social services. These complaints show citizens’ dissatisfaction with the agencies. Citizens apply to us to solve these issues.