To Find Support, Love, Strength, to Understand Yourself and to Improve
Natalia Voznesenskaya tells about the human rights club - the Open Space in Yerevan, how it's organized
The human rights club is located in the center of the city, on the Tumanyan street. Despite its central location finding the club is not so easy, the club is located inside a green garden with colorful benches and cherry trees. As soon as I saw a familiar logo in the banner, I knew I had arrived at the right place.

On the spot, we were able to catch the chairman of the club Satenik Vagdasaryan and the co-founder Goar Abraamyan and they told us about the operation of the club.

The club is called «Հոդված 3» ակումբ - #Article3 Club. The name of the club refers to article 3 of the Armenian constitution that states the following; "Humans, their dignity, their basic rights, and freedom are the highest value."

The club was started by the non-governmental organization "In the Name of Equal Rights" in 2016 and is considered to be a Scientific Production Association. There are several donors funding the club but the main one is Open Society Foundation- the Soros Foundation.
The club presents itself as a place where anyone can come; to have an event, to work, to talk or to read. The only condition is to maintain human rights. Here the official and non-formal discussions, talks, trainings, seminars, press conferences, film viewings, exhibitions, and other informative and educative events are the objectives of the club. You will be offered tea, coffee, water, free internet, pens, paper and maybe even a computer. The club organizes fundraising campaigns, in the hall there is a box where people can donate to a certain cause such as cancer patients or to another cause along these lines. Additionally, the club helps those ones in need of learning the language.

What did we witness in the club? From the entrance, you will enter into a hall with tables and chairs, bookshelves, photographs on the walls and booklets on human rights and other similar topics spread around. Then there is a small kitchen with all the necessary things, in the hall there are doors taking to the big conference room and an office where Satenik and her aid work. Perhaps, there are more people working there but when we came in, they were the only ones working there. In the conference room, some people were having a discussion but then they left and a press conference began regarding the reform on transportation.
Early marriages, domestic violence, and the number of abortions based on gender is higher than in China during the "one family, one child" policy
While leaving the conference room, we ran into Maria Abraamyan-Zaharyan, the coordinator of the program Human Rights. She told us how she organized a festival on human rights.

The festival took place in several spots in Armenia and began with a rock concert in Yerevan. Also part of it took place in a rather patriarchal area in the city of Gavare, not far from the Sevan river. Some of the current problems in here are early marriages, domestic violence, a high percentage of HIV cases in heterosexual women, and the cases of abortion based on the sex (when it is determined that the baby will be a girl and then the abortion is performed) is higher than it was in China during the one-child policy. During the festival, the human rights activists held 10 events there, such as; street art, performances and a game about human rights in the children's shelter.

Further on, Maria plans to organize a game "what, where, when?" in the city of Vanadzore. Maria also told us how they themselves equipped their garden, painted the benches, and decorated the garden. Currently, there is an eco-friendly initiative happening with a collection and separation of the trash. At the end of our conversation, Maria concluded that the Article 3 is a place where anyone can find support, love, strength to understand yourself and to improve. They are happy to have anyone in here (as long as they don't violate human rights).
Text and photos are provided by Natalia Voznesensksya
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