The Coalition to Stop Violence against Women has issued a statement condemning the misogynistic Facebook posts of Ashot Mirzoyan, member of the Public Council, where he was rationalizing the shocking violence against the woman murdered by her partner in Gyumri. He was also using insults towards the victim woman, thus fueling the wave of victim-blaming in social media.
The Coalition is proposing that the Council discuss the expediency of his membership in an open session, with public participation, in a hope that it will give the public an opportunity to hear the positions of other Council members on gender-based violence and women’s rights. The Coalition believes that members sharing the ideas of Ashot Mirzoyan, should not be part of an institution expressing public opinion giving advice to the government and that the Council should only have members espousing the values of human rights.
The Public Council was established in 2008 as a pseudo-civil-society institution in an attempt to silence political opposition and criticism of state violence of March 2008. It then continued operating as an institution carrying the Soviet authoritarian inertia of creating public opinion via “intelligentsia” largely on matters necessary for the ruling elite. In 2015, as a result of the publically disputed constitutional reforms, the Public Council became a government-affiliated advisory body on a wide range of issues, with members appointed by the Prime Minister. In 2019, Styopa Safaryan, former MP and Yerevan Municipal Council Member from “Heritage” party, founder of Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs, was appointed Chairman of the Public Council.