Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan Visits Massachusetts

WATERTOWN, Mass.—Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) Ombudsman (Human Rights Defender) Ruben Melikyan was recently on a tour of the Eastern United States. His regional tour—organized by Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER)—included various communities throughout the east coast where Melikyan talked about the general human rights situation in the country as well as presented his recent report on the atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the 2016 April War.

Melikyan speaking at the MIT panel

“I have been cooperating with the ANCA and other Diaspora institutions from the first day of assuming office as the Ombudsman of Artsakh Republic,” said Melikyan. “It is encouraging to see national unity globally on the issue of Artsakh and we need to be creative to overcome all the challenges facing us today. I am open to cooperating with anyone who wishes to see a more democratic Artsakh where human rights and freedoms are upheld and protected on the highest level.”

The first stop on the itinerary was Boston, which kicked off with a meeting with the editors of Hairenik and the Armenian Weekly, where Melikyan shared his duties and responsibilities as Ombudsman of Artsakh. He explained the history of the office and the European model of the Ombudsman’s institute as well as how the National Assembly of Artsakh nominated and confirmed him in May 2016.

The Ombudsman also traveled to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University to participate in a meeting with senior scholars, professors, and current Tavitian Fellows. Melikyan, an alumnus of 2008 Fletcher Tavitian Program, talked about his experience as the Human Rights Defender of an unrecognized state, as well as his strategy aimed at increasing the level of human rights protection in the country.

Melikyan held meetings with the Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian as well as the staff of Massachusetts Attorney General.

Melikyan held meetings with the Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian (far R) as well as the staff of Massachusetts Attorney General.

The day concluded with a panel discussion entitled “Spotlight on Nagorno-Karabagh: The Four-Day War and Its Aftermath” at Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-organized by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues, and the MIT Armenian Society. Dr. Antranig Kasbarian of the Tufenkian Foundation moderated the panel discussion, which included Melikyan and Ambassador Rouben Shougarian of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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