During the May 14 protests in the courtyard of Yerevan First Instance Court, the protests separated into two groups were accompanied by mutual insult, calls containing intolerance and hate speech. Children also took part in the protests. Their posters also included writings with elements of insults, intolerance and hate speech.
In the videos circulated through the media, children themselves mentioned that they were participating in the protest without their parent’s knowledge and couldn’t clearly explain the purpose of their participation, as well as they couldn’t explain the writings on their posters.
The Human Rights Defender realizes the importance of guaranteeing children’s rights protected by international treaties, including association and participation in other mass events. However, for the evaluation of the state of children rights it is mandatory to be guided by the best interest of the child considering the circumstances of concrete case. It should be directed to the full and conscious involvement of the child in social life in a way which ensures the best interest of the child.
Taking into account the above mentioned, in this particular case children’s participation in the mentioned protest and later in similar actions we consider to be impermissible and urge all the parties to refrain from engaging children in such actions.