United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said that she was deeply troubled following reports of eight deaths and numerous injuries on Saturday during demonstrations in the Armenian capital Yerevan, where a state of emergency has been declared.
The High Commissioner was particularly concerned by reports that force had been used against peaceful demonstrators and that opposition protestors had been detained. She called upon the authorities to exercise the utmost restraint and to ensure that due process is followed in the case of any detentions.
The High Commissioner recalled that Armenia is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which stipulates that, even during states of emergency, fundamental rights -- such as the right to life and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment -- cannot be suspended. Any restrictions of rights must be proportionate and may only be applied to the extent and duration strictly warranted by the circumstances.