Address by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum  at the launch event of the new structure for the Eastern Partnership

On March 12 of 2018, the launching event of the new architecture of European Union’s Eastern Partnership was organized, which was followed by the meeting of high-ranking officials of the European Union, as well as the foreign ministers of Eastern Partnership member states.

Within the scope of the meeting, the methodological and technical issues for the implementation of 2020 Deliverables of Eastern Partnership member states were discussed with the highlight of the role and participation of civil society in the mentioned process.

Haykuhi Harutyunyan, the President of the “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO, who is also the Coordinator of the 1st Working Group of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee, also participated in the meeting.

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum addressed the present high-ranking officials expressing its readiness to implement the new architecture of the EaP, as well as highlighted the current problems in Eastern Partnership member states.

In regard to Armenia, it is particularly mentioned:

In Armenia, the EU should promote a meaningful and structured involvement of the civil society in the process of preparation and implementation of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) roadmap. The setup of the bilateral civil society platform under CEPA should be inclusive and based on the existing structures of pro-European CSOs like the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform.

The recent Draft Law on “The structure and activities of the Government” violates the principles of transparency and public accountability and envisages that the Government sessions will be held behind closed doors starting from the day the President-elect takes office.

The limitations on the independence of judiciary, prosecution and investigation agencies through the appointment mechanisms where all decision and assignment powers are centralized within the ruling party are extremely worrisome.

Finally, politically motivated prosecutions and punishment of people with divergent views is still a part of Armenian reality as can be seen in the case of Andreas Ghukasyan – the first application to the European Court of Human Rights submitted from Armenia under the review of Article 18 violations (restrictions of the rights by other reasons than prescribed by the Convention).

Address by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum  at the launch event of the new structure for the Eastern Partnership