The paradigm of transformative change lies at the core of EPF’s Human Rights and Justice Programs: EPF works on changing the structural causes of intolerance, violence, injustice and discrimination, as well as the attitudes and behavior of actors. EPF also explores the power relations and their effects on societal relations, state policies and practices. Critical thinking methodology – deconstructing stereotypes, opening up taboo discussions, changing imposed narratives and perceptions, challenging the notion of ‘the other’ – is a key to addressing issues of minority rights, non-discrimination and freedom of expression, areas which are at the foundation of EPF’s Human Rights program. As part of its projects EPF continues to address difficult issues, such as the roots of tolerance and intolerance in Armenian culture; culture of violence and its consequences for society; criminal sub-culture and its manifestations in closed institutions and its penetration into the societal level. Thoughtful study of the problem, close cooperation with all counterparts and beneficiaries, and looking for outside-of-the-box solutions, are some of the instruments EPF applies while designing and implementing these projects.
EPF is recognized in Armenia for addressing Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and cross-cutting issues, such as gender and religion, FoRB and anti-discrimination. EPF is one of the leading civil society actors advocating for anti-discrimination legislation, as well as minority rights and freedoms. It advocates for the improvement of legislation and practices at local, national and international levels, using available tools and mechanisms; such as alternative reporting to UN Treaty Bodies and UPR, consultations with CoE ECRI, OSCE/ODIHR and other international organizations. In close cooperation with UN OHCHR, EPF is continuously building the capacities of other CSOs to ensure meaningful contribution to international advocacy efforts and bettering the human rights situation in the country. EPF is a member of the Advisory Council to the MoJ and several working groups on Human Rights and Justice adjunct to the MoJ.
As a part of its Justice portfolio, EPF contributes to judicial reform in Armenia by strengthening the capacities of civil society and media in order to improve the efficiency of courts, ensure public oversight and establish cooperation platforms. EPF maintains a unique on-line information-sharing platform on Justice sector reforms, and promotes a trilateral cooperation network between civil society, government and independent media. Programmatic activities include capacity building of CSOs, activists and media to monitor the work of courts and Supreme Judicial Council; promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms; and support to the Probation Service. EPF is also closely working with the Constitutional Court of Armenia on increasing the visibility of - and raising public trust in - the High Court.