YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"Armenia is second to last among European countries in expense on the human rights protection," Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission Paruyr Hairikian said at the Commission meeting December 8. He pointed out that the Commission’s annual budget is only $10,000.
Presenting the results of the November 15-16 UN seminar in Kirghizia–Hairikian reported that Azerbaijan–where no state institutes deal with human rights problems–ran’s last.
As for the establishment of the institution of ombudsman–Hairikian said that "we have done our business–that is–the drafting of a relevant bill–the former government has done–the president assured us that he would do everything in his power. The new government and the Parliament–in turn–should also do everything in their power." However–Hairikian is concerned that "the problem of human rights protection is of secondary importance–if understandable at all–to the present-day political majority."
The meeting also discussed the program of the Commission’s activities for 2000 and made a decision that three Commission members will visit pre-trial detention prisons and examine the detainees’ conditions.