An unannounced visit to “Avan” mental health center

An unannounced visit to “Avan” mental health center

On June 7, by the instruction of the Defender, the representatives of the Department for Prevention of Torture and Ill-treatment of the RA Human Rights Defender's Office made an unannounced monitoring visit to “Avan” mental health center of the RA Ministry of Health.


Within the monitoring visit, the living conditions of people at the psychiatric organization, the state of ensuring their rights, its compliance with the required standards, procedures of non-voluntary and the legally incapable persons’ treatment and the documents referring to the patients kept at the institution were examined.


The monitoring was conducted with the participation of lawyers, a doctor, and a sociologist, using special methodology and measuring devices (space, temperature, etc.).


During the visit, the following issues have been recorded:

  • household issues, including inadequate sanitary conditions; there is a need for improvement and renovation,
  • violations of maintenance of the medical records or misconduct of other documents,
  • Issues related to employment and contact with the outside world of persons with mental health problems,
  • Issues related to the legal procedures for voluntary and non-voluntary treatment that are systemic across the whole country and are not resolved continuously resulting in gross violations of human’s constitutional rights,   
  • issues concerning the working conditions of the staff of the psychiatric organization,
  • Inadequate social guarantees to the employees of the psychiatric organization, including salary, lack of professional trainings for the staff, etc.

The representatives of the Defender discussed the recorded issues with the administration of the psychiatric institution. The issues will be summarized and the recommendations for their solution with a relevant analysis will be submitted to the “Avan” mental health center, the Ministry of Health and other possible competent authorities.


It should be noted that the staff of the psychiatric institution have effectively cooperated with the representatives of the Defender and did not create any obstacle for their work.


Positive changes were observed in the psychiatric institution compared to the previous visit; particularly, the bathrooms were repaired, renovation works were carried out in some toilets, new beds and bedding were purchased.


The administration of the psychiatric institution expressed willingness to work with the Human Rights Defender’s Office towards eliminating the revealed issues, improving the state of ensuring the patients’ rights, developing the capacities of the medical staff in the field of human rights and increasing legal awareness as well.


The Human Rights Defender values the approach of the psychiatric organization and also expresses his willingness to contribute to the resolution of the revealed issues.