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Military Enlistment Issues in the Time of COVID-19

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor (HCAV) continues receiving alerts about issues faced by young men awaiting mandatory enlistment in the army. The human rights organization first alerted that lack of public transport impeded citizens from showing up at the Military Committees based on notifications they received.

Now the organization has received a complaint from a citizen abroad, whose term for deferred mandatory enlistment is expiring, however borders are closed, flights are cancelled due to which the person is not able to return to Armenia and be engaged in the mandatory enlistment procedure (medical examination first etc). “If no measures are taken, this person will be declared wanted, despite the fact that he did not evade military service by his will.”

HCAV calls on the government to identify and ensure the return of young men awaiting mandatory conscription to Armenia or to provide a deferment to them.

Earlier this month, the Embassy of Armenia in Russia issued a statement requesting citizens awaiting conscription who are unable to return home to enlist in the army, to send their contact information to the Embassy.

HCAV alerts that this issue needs to be resolved in a way to avoid criminal punishment of lawful citizens. In the meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is calling on citizens abroad to return home to serve in the Army, by contacting Armenia’s embassies in their countries of stay. The Ministry claims that the state will ensure their return.