ArmInfo.The new law "On the Administrative-Territorial Division of the Republic of Armenia" does not provide for provisions that ensure the interests of national minorities.
Thus, the legislator ignores the interests of national minorities. This was stated by representative of the Assyrian community of Armenia Irina Gasparyan on September 22 at the parliamentary hearings on the enlargement of the communities of the republic, initiated by the Standing Parliamentary Commission on Territorial Administration, Local Self-Government, Agriculture and Environmental Protection of the National Assembly.
To recall, on September 8, the government approved a package of amendments to the law "On the administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia" and "On local self-government", according to which, as a result of the unification of 441 communities in Armenia, there will be 37 communities. The enlargement started in 2016 and as a result of the unification of 486 communities have already created 54 enlarged communities. After the completion of the entire process, there will be 77 enlarged communities in Armenia, not counting Yerevan. The process will not affect the six communities of Armenia, where representatives of national minorities live.
Thus, according to Gasparyan, as a result of the already implemented community enlargement program, two villages of the RA - the village of Dimitrov (Artashat district of Ararat region) and the village of Nor Artagers (Armavir district of Armavir region) are on the verge of extinction. In this regard, a representative of the community inquired about the reason for ignoring the interests of national minorities in the course of drafting the document.
According to another representative of the Assyrian community, Zemfira Mirzoeva, the RA Police provided the Ministry of Territorial Development and Infrastructures with incorrect data on the number of representatives of national minorities. "How can nationality be determined solely on the basis of the surname, or, if the mother is Armenian, then the nationality is determined without taking into account the opinion of the child's parents?"
Gava of the Kurdish community, MP from the "Civil Contract" faction, Knyaz Hasanov, in turn, urged not to include in the program of community enlargement those populations where national minorities make up the majority.
Deputy Minister of Territorial Development and Infrastructure Vache Terteryan, first of all, urged to refrain from using the term "discrimination", since the authors of the project put the interests of all RA citizens, regardless of nationality, at the forefront. As the Deputy Minister pointed out, the legislator only temporarily refrained from enlarging a number of communities, since the process in practice promises only positive developments for the residents of the area. In addition, as he pointed out, the administrative- territorial division concerns only the management process, and in no way affects the cultural, national authenticity. At the same time, in his opinion, the legislator can refer to issues related to the cultural autonomy of national minorities in other regulatory legal acts.
To note, on September 8, at a government meeting, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that there is a decision of the Constitutional Court that holding a local referendum on this issue is unconstitutional and consolidation as a political process will be decided only in the area of the National Assembly - the government. The political decision has already been made, the prime minister said. "It is clear that an attempt should be made to heat up passions where possible. I want to ask our dear compatriots to urge them not to succumb to such sentiments," Pashinyan said.