Nov 28, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

In the midst of student protests two weeks ago, the Armenian Parliament passed a bill that restricts the rights of students to military draft deferments.

Hundreds of students at Armenian universities protested the bill.

The law now states that to get a military draft deferment, all male students who want to pursue their studies must sign contracts with Armenia’s Ministry of Defense and must agree to serve three years after completing their studies. The new restrictions came in response to concerns from the Armenian Ministry of Defense that the former draft deferments contained loopholes that allowed for some people to avoid the country’s compulsory military service.

Under the new restrictions students who do not sign the agreement will be drafted to the army and will serve for two years as soon as they turn 18.

Armenian students protested with a week-long boycott of classes. Five students from the group “For Science Development” declared a hunger strike, which has since ended.

The protesters also suggested an alternative proposal that would allow students to serve in the military while they were enrolled in university.  The Armenian government is currently considering the students’ proposal.

Stay tuned for updates on the passage of the bill and student protests in Armenia.

 

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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