Armenian university students protesting against the new draft law on eliminating military deferment decided to suspend the hunger and student strikes, one of the protesting students, Davit Petrosyan said following a meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly Ara Babloyan and Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov.
He informed that they had agreed to hold round-table discussions over the controversial legislative measure on 22 November, adding they will also try to attract scientists and civil society representatives to the debates.
“The purpose of conveying a round-table discussion is to make the voices of all the concerned parties heard. Through the general discussion, we will try to reach amendments in this legislative measure limiting military deferment. Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan said if we manage to prove the draft law wrong, we will be able to influence it. It was officially announced that the striking students will not face pressures. We believe a round-table [discussion] is the best option at the moment, since our goal is to make changes in the draft law,” Davit Petrosyan remarked.
Meantime he stressed he cannot point out any further step following the upcoming meeting in a round-table format, adding it depends on the process and outcome of the discussions.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov in his turn said the public round-table debates will bring together all the interested parties.
“We embark on a constructive phase, asking to end the strike. The discussions scheduled for 22 November will address global concerns. The outcome will be clear after discussions,” he added.
Earlier today the Armenian parliament adopted on the second reading the amendments into the Armenian law “On Military Duty and Military Service” that would abolish temporary exemptions from Armenia’s mandatory military service for graduate and undergraduate students of government-funded educational institutions.
The controversial bill debated at a plenary session of the parliament on Wednesday was completely adopted with 86 votes for and 6 against.
Critics of the legislation point to the adverse impact of the new law on the education and science, suggesting the elimination of conscription deferments will prevent prospective students from professional, scientific or educational activities. Meanwhile, the proponents of the law insist the deferments are a violation of social justice. Additionally, cancelling all exemptions for compulsory service would minimize corruption risks in the military and education spheres in cases when eligible citizens would wish to avoid the army.