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Universal Rights Award ceremony 2016

Every year, the EU Delegation to Armenia, the US embassy, the OSCE, Council of Europe and the UN Armenia offices in Yerevan, honor individuals working to promote human rights, accountable governance, the rule of law, local government reform, women’s rights, inclusion and free speech in Armenia at the Universal Rights Awards ceremony. The ceremony has taken place annually since 2012, and is the first initiative of the international community to highlight the contributions of Armenia’s civil and political rights activists, government officials, media and civil society representatives to the promotion of human rights.

The Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Ms. Natalia Voutova handed over the "Promoting Inclusion" awarded. "Zaruhi Batoyan has done an impressive work in breaking taboos and changing public and societal attitudes towards disability. Fight against prejudice towards disability is among the most important missions of the Council of Europe. By integrating and including disabled children and youth into the society, Ms. Batoyan has made significant contribution in guaranteeing that disabled individuals and their families are not segregated and their rights are protected. The work of Ms. Batoyan as to how the public sees disability is to be highly praised. Hence, on behalf of the Council of Europe, it is an honor and pleasure for me to hand over this prize to Ms. Batoyan, as my organisation is working towards one and the same goal," said Ms. Voutova. 

 “I am proud that I did my first steps in an organization which was the first to speak up about the idea of inclusion. “Bridge of Hope” is the organization which gave me an opportunity to fight for the defense of the rights of the people with disabilities,- says Zaruhi Batoyan. “Today with the team of “Disability info” new NGO we try to promote the accessibility of information and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all the spheres of life available. The inclusion is not easy to achieve, it demands every day work, in Armenia – every day fight. Today receiving the price I was thinking how many years people are going to receive prices for promoting basic human conditions, for fighting to live a free life. The price for me will be when children with disabilities will not left in the orphanages, when people living in far villages will able to get out of their houses, when young people with disabilities will be able to study and work and use their power and potential, when women with disabilities will have equal opportunities, when the disability will not cause poverty. When people with disabilities will be decision makers, developers of projects and policy, only then in Armenia will take place the real inclusion”.