Earlier this month, members of the Children’s Defense Network held a public protest in front of the Erebuni Court in Yerevan. The protesters demanded a verdict with maximum punishment for the defendant, Levon Avagyan, a teacher at the Nubarashen boarding school who has confessed to sexually harassing his students. Led by the Children’s Defense Network, the demonstration enjoyed the participation of many civil society groups, including the Tufenkian Foundation and the staff at ‘Zangakatun’ social services NGO.
Citing Armenian law, the court limited Levon Avagyan’s sentence to 18 months, based on his confession of guilt. This serves as a basis for the protest since participants considered this too-lenient a term for someone who committed these crimes for 15 years, physically abusing children.
The Foundation is proud to support such initiatives, believing that we must maintain vigilance towards sexual harassment and violence against our children. Armenia cannot have an image of tolerance toward pedophilia and sexual violence. After all, Armenia has signed and ratified the UN National Convention on Children’s Rights Defense.
Due to the pressure of civil society activists, on May 24th the 18 month sentence was changed to 2 years.