Armenia adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2019. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the goal to be implemented for the 2019-2021 period. Armenia’s NAP focuses heavily on increasing women’s participation in and awareness of the protection of women’s rights within the defense system (military, police, and peacekeeping missions). The NAP also puts particular emphasis on creating comprehensive programs to address the needs of women and girls impacted by or displaced as a result of conflicts. The NAP includes components on the international implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda, especially in light of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, the document specifically states that Armenia considers the NAP “as a national mechanism for the protection and promotion of women’s rights in public life” (p. 2).
Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The country has been in an ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan since 1988 over the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict . The conflict has resulted in thousands of casualties as well as refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Even though a ceasefire was put into effect in 1994, there has been ongoing tension between the two countries. In 2016, conflict erupted again, resulting in casualties on both sides, and ended in a ceasefire. The conflict has had distinct gendered impacts, affecting women’s lives in the public and private realm alike. Women’s organizations have been at the forefront to demand an end to hostilities and establish peace. Despite their on-the-ground efforts, women have been excluded from high-level diplomatic negotiations.
In 2018, Armenia was among the top 10 countries with the highest military burden (the military expenses as a share of the gross domestic product). That same year, Armenia’s military spending increased by 33%, with a total of $609 million spent on military expenses. Armenia joined the UN in 1992 and is a contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with a total of 33 personnel serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as of September 2019. Armenia is also a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program as well as being a contributor to NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and Resolute Support Mission (RSM), respectively. Armenia has neither signed nor ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders.