The Civil Contract Party has nominated Deputy Prosecutor-General Anahit Manasyan for the post of Armenia’s Human Rights Defender. The previous ombudswoman Kristine Grigoryan unexpectedly announced her resignation two months ago. Manasyan has served in her current role for less than five months. She previously served as an advisor for former chairmen of the Constitutional Court and teaches constitutional law at Yerevan State University. The Human Rights Defender is appointed by parliament, which is controlled by the Civil Contract Party. Neither of the opposition factions have named nominees for the position.
Azerbaijan’s government has launched overnight tourist trips for Azerbaijani citizens to Shushi. “The project, being part of the Great Return’ policy, aims to organize safe tourist trips to this cultural capital for citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan who have reached the age of 18, as well as to increase economic activity in the territories freed from occupation,” Azerbaijan’s State Tourism Agency said. Shushi was captured by Azerbaijani forces during the 2020 Artsakh War. Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Refugees and Displaced People’s Affairs announced in January that 450 families will be settled in Shushi this year. Azerbaijan has been gradually settling territories captured during the war since last year.
The Sairme Mineral Waters company has met the key demands of a union representing its employees, ending a five-week strike. In a collective bargaining agreement reached on March 20, the company agreed to a 22-percent raise in worker salaries. Pay for overtime work increased by 25-percent, and night shifts, 34-percent. Sairme previously refused to compensate employees when work was suspended due to malfunctioning equipment. A group of 32 striking employees have blocked the entrance to the Sairme factory since February 13. Georgian authorities have frequently deployed police to unblock the factory entrance.
The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) announced that it will not nominate a candidate for the upcoming presidential election in May. The HDP is excluded from the Nation Alliance, an opposition coalition of six political parties. The announcement is seen as a tacit endorsement of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the presidential nominee of the Nation Alliance. The opposition alliance has vowed to abolish the presidential system put in place by Erdogan in 2018, which they say has created a one-man rule without checks and balances.