Learn more about specific causes in Armenia that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentClimate resilience and disaster prevention are the main focuses of the government regarding the environment.1 One of the largest issues facing the Armenian environment is the pollution of rivers by factories. Waste management is poor, and an estimated 20 percent of rivers can be categorized as having “catastrophic” amounts of pollution. 70 percent of rivers are considered “good” or “excellent” in their cleanliness, and this directly correlates to the lack of industrial activity in the area.2
FamilyDomestic violence is a pervasive problem in Armenia, and as many as 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime.1 In 2017 Armenia passed a law that provides more protection for domestic violence survivors, but Human Rights Watch points out that this new legislation will not be useful until the authorities find a way to integrate it into police responses and invest in programs for domestic violence survivors. Police response to domestic violence reports is currently apathetic at best. There are still issues with the government enforcing gender role stereotypes within the nuclear family through legislation.2
Human RightsFor the past few elections in Armenia, police were unresponsive to citizens’ complaints of voter harassment and vote-bullying. Mistreatment of detainees in police custody is also rampant. There have been several peaceful protests in recent years that were disbanded through violent means without investigation.1 Impunity and unfair trials are reported throughout judicial proceedings. Rights such as freedom of expression, economic, social, and cultural rights are consistently violated. Violence against LGBT communities also persists.2
EducationArmenia has been trying to institute education reform for the past decade but it has not been effective. In 2014 the World Bank approved a loan of $30 million USD to help finance the Education Improvement Project in Armenia. The education reform project aims to improve the primary school readiness of Armenian students as well as improve the physical infrastructures of secondary schools around the country.1 99 percent of the adult population is literate.2
Poverty32 percent of the Armenian population lives below the poverty line.1 Food insecurity is prevalent and is exacerbated by increasing income disparity.2 The Borgen Project cites labor force migration, unemployment, and a weak agricultural system as the main causes for the poverty problem facing the country.3
ReligionArmenia was the first country in the world that formally adopted the Christian religion in the early 4th century. 92 percent of the population is Armenian Apostolic Christian. The remaining people are either Evangelical Christian, follow other religions, or are unaffiliated.1 Armenia’s constitution protects the right of religious freedom, however other laws and policies place restrictions on religious practices. Religious groups must register with the government and the Armenian National Church is granted privileges not available to other religious groups in the country. Religious conflict and discrimination are rare.2
Clean WaterArmenia largely has consistent access to potable water, and 100 percent of the population has access to improved drinking water sources. Additionally, 96 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation infrastructure.1 In May 2014, the government approved a draft of national water management and health targets that was proposed to the government by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. This legislation regulates the amount of wastewater needing to be sent for treatment to reduce the amount of waterborne diseases.2
EconomyArmenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015 but is open to closer ties with the EU as well. Armenia’s main exports are copper, iron, and nonferrous metals. Imports include petroleum and tobacco products. Russia, Bulgaria, and China are the main trade partners with the country. Public debt is slowly rising and is currently 56.7 percent of GDP. The unemployment rate is 19 percent, while 32 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The only open trade borders for the country are with Iran and Georgia due to territorial disputes with Azerbaijan and Turkey. The trade imbalance created by limited open borders has been somewhat stabilized through remittances and international aid.1 Anti-corruption measures within the economy are not enforced and they remain well Read More below international standards.2 Show Less
GovernmentThe Republic of Armenia is a parliamentary democracy that has a president as chief of state. The prime minister is the head of government who also gets to appoint the council of prime ministers that make up the cabinet. There are ten major political parties. Armenia was formerly under the rule of Soviet Russia and gained independence in 1991.1 Armenia’s government has endemic and pervasive corruption at all levels of government, including the judiciary, the police, and the healthcare sector. Transparency International ranks the country 107 out of 180 and the public scores them 35 out of a possible 100.2
HealthThe average life expectancy for Armenians is 75 years. Infant mortality is 12 deaths per 1,000 live births, and maternal mortality is 25 deaths per 100,000 live births. The government spends about 4.5 percent of GDP on healthcare. Obesity is a major health concern. 20 percent of the adult population struggles with obesity, and the rate of obesity among adolescents is rising among children ages 11 to 13 years old.1, 2 Drug use is a another major health hazard, and illegal drug use has increased by 50 percent since 2012.3
ChildrenThe minimum age of employment in Armenia is 16, although exceptions can be made for those between the ages of 14 and 16 who have special permission from their parents. The United States Department of Labor found that the children in Armenia are exploited in the agricultural sector. Many children work as farmers in rural areas, and in urban settings many children work in construction or in factories.1 Approximately 8 percent of children ages 5 to 14 in Armenia are involved in child labor.2 Additionally, malnutrition is a widespread concern for children in Armenia, and approximately 1 in 5 children in the country are stunted due to lack of proper nutrition.3
AnimalsArmenia is part of the critically endangered palearctic region. The landscape is made up of high plateaus and mountain peaks, as well as lowlands with patches of forests. These habitats are home to ancestors of the wheat, barley, rye, and oat plants, as well as many grape and wild pear trees. Local wildlife includes the brown bear, grey wolf, and striped hyena. Habitat loss can be attributed to agriculture, unsustainable biological practices, and industrial and urban expansion.1
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