By Karine Kalantarian
Over 1,200 Armenians committed suicide and nearly as many of them tried to kill themselves in the past six years, according to official statistics released by state prosecutors on Friday.
The bulk of the deaths were registered by law-enforcement in Yerevan. The official figures also show that almost 70 percent of the suicide victims across the country between 2000 and 2005 were men.
Armenian children and teenagers account for a small proportion of the grim statistics: 110 suicides and suicide attempts. Also taking or attempting to take their life were 58 soldiers. Vladimir Grigorian, a senior official from the Prosecutor-General’s Office who presented the data, said 14 army officers and soldiers were prosecuted in connection with those cases.
Grigorian could not cite the principle causes of suicides committed in Armenia. He acknowledged that law-enforcement authorities have often failed to properly investigate their circumstances.
Armenian newspaper reports have suggested that suicides have been on the rise in recent years primarily due to persisting poverty and other socioeconomic hardships. But Grigorian denied this, saying that their annual number has not increased since the 1990s. He also insisted that Armenia’s suicide rate is well below that of most industrialized nations.