Russian military presence in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine and its impact on human rights situation

This re-granting project aims at understanding the effect of Russian military bases’ presence in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine on the human-rights situation in these three countries. The project’s lead organisation Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, and their partner organisations East European Security Research Initiative Foundation (Ukraine) and Promo LEX Association (Moldova), closely elaborated on the implications for the human right situations in the three EaP countries caused by the foreign military presence of the Russian Federation (RF).  In a thorough policy report they highlighted mayor challenges and suggested main recommendations on how to tackle this issue.

Policy Report

The policy report, analysing the impact of foreign military presence in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine outlines that the Armenian government does not monitor sufficiently the activity of military units of the Russian Federation located in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Numerous incidents involving the Russian military personnel in the Republic of Armenia have taken place, including murders, injuries, and beatings.

In Moldova, the Russian army supports the Transnistrian de facto administration in deliberately violating the human rights of the local inhabitants. In Ukraine, the presence of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian led to human rights violations before, during and after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Ukraine’s insufficient monitoring of Russian military presence enhanced Crimea’s occupation and annexation.

Human-rights implications

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow used its remaining military presence for the sake of strengthening its own geopolitical influence on the newly independent states. Combining deliberate human rights abuses with aggressive legal pressure on the countries, the military presence has led to a significant deterioration of the human rights situation on the ground.

Recommendations

  • Document all human rights abuses and violations, to be able to investigate them and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible
  • Search ways to make the Russian Federation uphold to its obligations under international human rights law
  • Elaborate comprehensive legal mechanisms relating to any foreign military presence
  • Use the transitional justice agenda as a key driver of law enforcement and human rights protection under the general concept of human security.
  • Use existing international mechanisms and human rights institutions for the protection of human rights and fundamental rights and freedoms
  • Address hybrid threats to human security caused by foreign military presence by focusing on Security and Defence Sector Reform & Developing process

Press release

The full report was presented on October 31, 2019, in Yerevan. Representatives of Yerevan-based embassies, experts, non-governmental organizations and media attended the event. Read the full press release here.

Outline

Lead Organisation:

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)

Partners:

  • East European Security Research Initiative Foundation (Ukraine),
  • Promo LEX Association (Moldova)

Project duration:

April to September 2019

Aim:

  • to provide EaP stakeholders with an objective assessment of the impact of Russian military presence on the human rights situation in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine
  • to strengthen advocacy efforts for an EaP security agenda

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