Promoting development of the cultures of national minorities
Key objectives of the measure:
Eleven ethnic communities (Assyrian, Yezidi, Kurdish, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Jewish, Polish, Greek and German), as well as more than 30 non-governmental organisations of the 11 ethnic communities continue to operate in a self-organised manner within the Republic of Armenia, and their activities are mainly targeted at the preservation and development of the native language and culture. Pursuant to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (the Charter entered into force on the part of the Republic of Armenia from 1 May 2002), Assyrian, Yezidi, Greek, Russian and Kurdish languages have been recognised as regional languages or as languages of national minorities. The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia is the main axis for implementation of the state policy on the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia enshrines: “Everyone shall have the right to preserve his or her national and ethnic identity. Persons belonging to national minorities shall have the right to preserve and develop their traditions, religion, language and culture.” The rights of national minorities of the Republic of Armenia are protected both by the respective Agreement of the Council of Europe, the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The establishment of the Co-ordinating Council for National and Cultural Organisations of National Minorities of the Republic of Armenia under the Staff to the President of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the Division for Ethnic Minorities and Religious Affairs of the Government of the Republic of Armenia are a major step for the protection of national minorities. Generally, the newspapers, as well as the journals and magazines of national minorities receive state aid in the Republic of Armenia. In 2015, 8 newspapers were published in Russian (in 2012 — 8), the number of issues was 582 (in 2012 — 617), the single print run — 32.8 thousand units (in 2012 — 37.3), the annual print run — 2 408.9 thousand units (in 2012 — 2 677.3), 1 unit in English, respectively (in 2012 — 1), 48 units (in 2012 — 31), 1.5 thousand units (in 2012 — 1.0), 72.0 thousand units (in 2012 — 31.0). In 2015, 287 books and booklets were published in Russian, English, German, French, Italian, Turkish, Kurdish, Yezidi and simultaneously in several languages (in 2012 — 332) the print run comprised 157.1 thousand copies (in 2012 — 109.3). In 2015, 55 books and booklets were translated into Russian, English, German, French, Arabic, Turkish and simultaneously in several languages (in 2012 — 90), the print run comprised 18.0 thousand copies (in 2012 — 32.0). The cultures of national minorities of the Republic of Armenia in the Armenian cultural mosaic are represented by an exhibition of applied arts which has been held since 2007 and has already become a tradition. Since 2010, a creative festival entitled “Armenia is My Home” has been held every year, and in 2015, the festival was dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide and was entitled “National Minorities of Armenia against Genocides”. Radio programmes are broadcast in the languages of national minorities. The Yezidis and Assyrians residing in Armenia have created an educational and methodical base within the general education system with the support of state institutions. There are Commissions on “Iranian Studies” and “Semitology”, which perform expertise of syllabuses, textbooks and manuals in the native languages of the Yezidis, Kurds and Assyrians. The syllabus for the 1st-9th grader Yezidis, the textbooks for the 1st-9th graders and those for the 11th grade (in an electronic form), are posted on http://lib.armedu.am, i.e. on the “Database of Resources” sub-site of the “Armenian Educational Environment” portal operated by the National Institute of Educational Technologies. The electronic Kurdish language textbooks for the 2nd-7th grades are also posted here. The Yezidi and Kurdish languages are taught in the elementary grades of the schools of rural areas of residence of Yezidis and Kurds, if there is a relevant specialist, irrespective of the number of children. Concurrently, there are 60 general education schools in the Republic, which provide advanced instruction of the Russian language. Textbooks recommended by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, as well as syllabuses recommended and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia are used at schools (grades) where instruction is in the Russian language. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the National Institute of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia, the Fund for Humanitarian Co-operation of CIS member states, Yerevan Office of “Rossotrudnichestvo” and Russian organisations in the Republic of Armenia, joint training courses for Russian language teachers, seminar-consultations, annual contests for Best Teacher of the Russian language and other events are organised. Training courses for Russian language teachers are also organised at the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University. The list of subjects of the annual school Olympiads in the Republic also includes the Russian language (school, district, municipal, marz [regional] and republican stages). The schoolchildren of Armenia participate in the distance Olympiad of the Russian language. Every year, educational and methodical books are imported into Armenia from the Russian Federation. The “Russian Language in Armenia” magazine is published in the Republic of Armenia and is provided to all schools free of charge. Greek language Sunday courses are held by the Union of Greek Non-Governmental Organisations. The courses are open to everyone, without restrictions on age and nationality. If necessary, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia provides assistance through the provision of areas to open centres and Sunday schools for national minorities within schools. For instance, a lecture hall was provided in the Basic High School of Gyumri Pedagogical University to the “Polonia” Alliance of the Poles of Armenia Charitable Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and the Sunday school. The “Arbela” Armenian-Russian-Assyrian Scientific and Cultural Centre was established in 1995 in the secondary school of Verin Dvin and has been operating to this day. Events entitled “My native language”, “Our language is the guarantee of our existence” (the Assyrian language day — on 21 April) have been held and are being held at the school. Taking into consideration the military situation in Syria, all children having immigrated to Armenia have been provided with the opportunity to continue their education in the corresponding grades of a general education school, irrespective of the availability of documents certifying previous education (grade). The engagement of children of Russian, Yezidi, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Assyrian, Arab, Jewish, Greek and Chinese origin in extracurricular clubs, in events devoted to arts and literature, to native studies and in all other school events contribute to the development of the respective cultures of national minorities. Exhibitions showcasing handicrafts of national minority representatives have been organised in a number of schools of the capital. On the occasion of International Day of Solidarity, events entitled “Let’s Recognise Greece”, “I am a Georgian, and you are an Armenian” and “Russia, My Brother”, etc. were organised at schools. The third festival of Russian song entitled “Song is a bridge of friendship” was organised. National songs and dances were performed during the Day of Yezidis — a spring awakening event, which was organised through the co-operation of the Yezidi community at schools that have schoolchildren of Yezidi origin. Classic Assyrian is taught as a subject included in the Master’s Programme of the Faculty of Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University, and the Yezidi language is taught at the same Faculty, if the instruction of this language corresponds to the narrow profession chosen by the student. The Yerevan branch of Ternopil National Economic University (state higher education institution of Ukraine), as well as the branches of state and non-state higher education institutions of the Russian Federation also operate in the Republic of Armenia. The applicants belonging to national minorities of the Republic of Armenia are enrolled at higher education institutions both on general basis and based on the applications submitted by the heads of national minority communities. The applicants belonging to national minorities, who are enrolled at state higher education institutions, enjoy the privileges prescribed by the Law of the Republic of Armenia “On education”, including participation in the rotation process organised at higher education institutions. They also enjoy the right to discount of the tuition fee in the prescribed manner, are granted state scholarships according to their preferences, participate, in the prescribed manner, in inter-university and university-wide transfer process, participate in the admissions process for Master’s Degree studies, etc. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia, within the scope of co-operation with international and non-governmental organisations, has also carried out a number of educational and cultural programmes targeted at the cultural adaptation of children and youth of Iraqi-Armenian migrants having taken shelter in Armenia and the parents thereof, as well as the improvement of their conditions. Within the scope of the Target Initiative for Armenia Programme funded by the EU, instruction of the Armenian language is carried out at the Armenian State Pedagogical University after Kh. Abovyan for migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups lacking knowledge of Armenian.
Area(s) of Monitoring