Issue 73

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2011 –Invitation to contribute information

European External Action Service

http://eeas.europa.eu/

10.10.2011

In May 2011, the High Representative of theUnionfor Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission published the fifth set of ENP progress reports, on the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2010. In preparing these reports, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the services of the Commission made use of contributions received from civil society in their specific areas of expertise.

The EEAS and the Commission services are now beginning the preparations for the sixth package of progress reports, which will cover implementation in 2011 and which will be adopted in spring 2012. This package will be addressed to the Council and the European Parliament, and presented to the ENP partners concerned. It will also be made available to the public at large. It will cover all ENP partner countries with which an ENP Action Plan is agreed, thus, in alphabetical order: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian Territory,Tunisia and Ukraine. (http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/documents_en.htm#2)

The purpose of this “ENP package” is to report on the progress achieved by the ENP partners in the implementation during 2011 of the commitments made in their respective ENP Action Plans, which are agreed between the EU and the country in question. The reports are not general reports on the political and economic realities of the country. Their scope is limited to the implementation of the Action Plans. To read earlier reports, please click here http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/documents_en.htm#3

In order to ensure a maximum of transparency and objectivity in the reports, the EEAS and the Commission services draws on the widest possible array of sources. In this context, all interested parties, including non-governmental organisations and other interested organisations active in the fields covered by the ENP Action Plans are invited to provide any information, reports or assessments, in accordance with the following:

– please be sure to indicate clearly, in the heading of your message, the country in relation to which your information is provided;

– please be brief and concise;

– always provide a reference for the information provided but please note that no source will be quoted in the final reports; and

– please send your information to ENP-2012-Progress-Reports@eeas.europa.eu  before 1 December 2011

The progress reports are of a synthetic nature and therefore, not all information received can be part of the final reports. Nor do the reports refer to individual cases, whether indicative of positive or negative developments. However, all contributions are always highly valuable for the general background.

Thank you in advance for any contributions.

 

EaP CSF Statement on situation in Azerbaijan

From:     Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee

To:       – Government of Azerbaijan 
              – Heads of all EU institutions
              – Governments of the EU member States
              – Council of Europe

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum calls for:

– the respect of freedom of expression and assembly, and the immediate release of political prisoners, in  Azerbaijan

The work of civil society – including those formally recognised within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum – continues to be obstructed by government authorities in Azerbaijan.

Democracy campaigners receive jail sentences in Baku

Since their detention for participation in peaceful demonstrations on 2 April 2011, 14 civil society activists and opposition leaders have been sentenced to jail for periods of up to six years in politically motivated trials based on falsified evidence. On 2 April 2011, peaceful protesters were beaten and arrested in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and others were arrested in pre-emptive police action before the 2 April public gatherings calling for democratic reforms in Azerbaijan. These actions were condemned by the Civil Society Forum in its statement of 5 April 2011.

The fourteen individuals sentenced include a well-known human rights defender, the deputy head of the opposition Musavat Party, and the chairman of the National Statehood Party. The convictions were based on charges ranging from kidnapping and hooliganism to disobeying police orders and forcing a citizen to vote against his will or preventing him from voting. The results of the monitoring of the investigation process and court hearings by Azerbaijani Human Rights Defend Organizations shows that the right to a fair trial was violated both during the investigation and court hearings, and that the accusations against the defendants were of a political character and based on ungrounded and suspicious conclusions.

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum calls upon the government of Azerbaijan to immediately release the political prisoners, and to respect freedom of expression and assembly.

The Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum considers the court decisions unfair and politically motivated, and calls upon governments of the member-states of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy, to communicate to the Azerbaijan authorities their unambiguous disapproval of these sentences, and to call upon the government of Azerbaijan to release the prisoners immediately.

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum strongly condemns these politically motivated convictions, which are clear violations of the obligations of Azerbaijan as a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and urges the European Commission, the EU Council, and EU member-states to consult extensively with representatives of civil society, and to ensure that they meet directly with them on every official visit to Azerbaijan to hear first-hand about the observance of human rights and democratic freedoms in Azerbaijan.

12 October 2011

Co-Chairs
Antonella VALMORBIDA
Association of Local Democracy Agencies
Antonella.valmorbida@aldaintranet.org
 
Ulad VIALICHKA
International Consortium EUROBELARUS, Belarus
UV@EUROBELARUS.INFO

 

Meeting of the Armenian participants of three Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums

September 13, 2011

The meeting of Armenian participants Eastern Partnership (EaP) Brussels, Berlinand Poznan Civil Society Forums (CSF) was initiated by EaP CSF Armenian Coordinator, President of Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan on September 13th, 2011.    

The meeting agenda included the following:

  • To discuss the Civil Society monitoring of the EaP implementation progress,
  • To discuss the issues related to the development of the EaP CSF and National Platform  concepts,
  • Organizational issues.

In his opening speech Avetik Ishkhanyan addressed the agenda of the meeting and the further activities of the Armenian National Platform of the EaP CSF.

Afterwards member of the CSF Steering Committee, President of the Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardyan introduced the reworked version of the CSF National Platform Charter which after inclusion of comments given by meeting participants will become the acting Charter of the National Platform. The participants agreed to finalize works on the Charter prior to Poznan Forum.

The results of the monitoring of the EaP implementation were introduced by the Executive Director of Transparency International –Armenia Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Deputy Chairman of the Communities Finance Officers Association, David Tumanyan, President of Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan, President of Women’s Association with University Education Jemma Hasratyan, Expert of the Yerevan Press Club Arevhat Grigoryan, Head of the Association For the Sustainable Human Development Karine Danielyan, Executive Director of the Open Society Armenia Foundations Larisa Minasyan.

Mr. Hoktanyan particularly has mentioned that although there were certain legislative changes in sphere of fight against corruption, however stated that there are serious concerns regarding implementation. The importance of the anti-corruption strategy and of implementation of that strategy was also mentioned.

Mr. Tumanyan has informed the participants that the development of the Community Development Strategy is in process and that there are NGOs involved in the process.

While introducing the monitoring of reforms in sphere of human rights and penitentiary system Mr. Ishkhanyan has particularly mentioned about the RA law on “Freedom of Assemblies”, the 2010 report of the European committee on Tortures and inhumane or degrading treatment to dignity or punishment prevention, as well as about the impartiality of the Armenian courts.

The issue of gender situation inArmeniawas presented by Jemma Hasratyan, the chair of the Women’s Association with University Education. She mentioned that the CSF National Platform of Armenia should promote the gender equality in relevant structures, especially the local government bodies.

The situation with the freedom of expression was presented by Arevhat Grigoryan, an expert from Yerevan Press Club. She mentioned that in 2010 there have been quite many cases of violence against journalist, but no punishment has been applied. 

The environmental issues were presented by Karine Danielyan who emphasized that there is no way to change something in the framework of current system as the decisions are made with no consideration of public opinion.

The reporters also mentioned that the issues raised in the reports done within the Eastern Partnership program are very general, and the negative part is presented in a restrained mode.

The following people participated in the discussions on the CSF and National Platform concepts Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan (Eurasia Partnership Foundation), Larisa Minasyan (Open Society Foundations-Armenia), Boris Navasardyan (Yerevan Press Club), Sona Ayvazyan (“Transparency International” anti-corruption center). It was agreed that the discussion will be continued during the forthcoming meetings.

The draft of the regulation of the EaP CSF National Platform was also discussed during the meeting and was positively evaluated by Hovsep Khurshudyan (Civil National Initiative), Artak Kirakosyan (Civil Society Institute), Anahit Gevorgyan (Martuni Women’s Community Council) and Armine Tukhikyan (“Urban” Sustainable development foundation). 

There was a wide discussion on the issue of criteria for NGOs inclusion into the National Platform. Several suggestions were made for the improvement of the document. As a result, it was decided that the National Platform will be open to all the NGOs which will come up with their initiatives and ideas. Meanwhile, it was underlined, that there is a need in such a system of the National Platform activity which would ensure the relevance of the initiatives of the Armenian National Platform to the purposes and priorities of the EaP CSF.

As a result of discussions it was decided to rename the presented Draft of the Charter of the EaP Armenian National Platform into Draft of Organizational Principles of the Armenian National Platform.

The voting was attended by 22 delegates out of 23 who had participated in the 3 meetings of the CSF. As a result, the Draft of Organizational Principles of the Armenian National Platform was voted unanimously. It was also decided to e-mail the delegates attending the meeting through their e-mail addresses the edited version of the Draft of Organizational Principles of the Armenian National Platform. In case of no new suggestions, it would be accepted as a final one.

At the end of the meeting Avetik Ishkhanyan, the coordinator of the CSF Armenian National Platform thanked everybody for their active participation in the discussions.

 

EaP CSF Armenian National Coordinator

Avetik Ishkhanyan’s letter to EaP CSF colleagues

 Dear colleagues,

The organizational principles of the CSF Armenian National Platform were formulated on the basis of the recommendations submitted by the Armenian delegates to three Civil Society Forums of the Eastern Partnership at their September, 13, 2011, meeting.

These principles come to substitute the June 7, 2010, ANP Regulations, which as a result of certain developments became impossible to apply. The ANP organizational principles take effect upon distribution and constitute the main norms that regulate the activities of the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

According to these principles, the participants of the Second (Berlin) Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership, representing 24 non-governmental organizations, are members of the Assembly of Armenian delegates’ of the current Forum. Those NGOs are Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Yerevan Press Club, Protection of Consumers’ Rights, Unison NGO, Union of Armenian State Employees, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Open Society Foundations – Armenia, Association for Sustainable Human Development, Urban Foundation, Vanadzor Office of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Ecotourism, Armenian Young Lawyers Association, Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Forum for the 21st Century Leaders, Foundation for Small and Medium Businesses, Civil Society Institute, Asparez Journalists’ Club, Gyumri branch of A. D. Sakharov Center, Mission Armenia Charity, Community Finance Officers Association, Association of Women with University Education, Internews Armenia NGO, Ecoteam.

Those delegates to the First (Brussels, 2009), Second (Berlin, 2010) and Third (Poznan, 2011) Civil Society Forums of the Eastern Partnership who attended the 13 September 2011 founding meeting held in Yerevan will be regarded as a members of the CSF Armenian delegates; general assembly unless they have publicly declined the membership. Those NGOs are Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Yerevan Press Club, Protection of Consumers’ Rights, Unison NGO, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Open Society Foundations – Armenia, Association for Sustainable Human Development, Urban Foundation, Vanadzor Office of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Ecotourism, Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Civil Society Institute, Asparez Jorunalists’ Club, Gyumri branch of A. D. Sakharov Center, National Civic Initiative, Mission Armenia Charity NGO, Community Finance Officers Association, Chamber of commerce and industry of Gegharkunik region, Association of Women with University Education, Community Council of Women of Martuni, Internews Armenia NGO, Ecoteam,  Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia.

The NGO that participated in any of those 3 Forums but whose representative was did not participate the 13 September meeting can join the assembly by properly informing the Armenian National Coordinator of the Civil Society Forum.

The National Coordinator will announce the Armenian National Platform membership list after other NGOs, which are eligible under these principles, have become members.

No other entity, association or organization, with the exception of those eligible under the Organizational principles and the described above, may designate itself as the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and to exercise functions that are not laid down by the Organizational principles.

We welcome all the events initiated and agreements concluded by the Armenian, as well international structures, with the ANP, and inform that right after the release of this statement the cooperation may take place only with the appropriate structures and bodies envisaged by the Organizational principles of the Armenian National Platform.

 Avetik Ishkhanyan
EaP CSF Armenian National Coordinator 

 

ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES

of the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

1.1 The Armenian National Platform (hereafter: “ANP”) of the Eastern Partnership (hereafter: “EaP”) is a voluntary association of the Armenian civil society organizations (hereafter: “CSO”) formed in conformity with the mission and principles of the EaP Civil Society Forum (hereafter: “EaP CSF”). The ANP members make atmost efforts to realize the EaP goals in Armenia as well as in the entire region. The ANP aims at implementing EaP projects, harmonizing the solutions of the country’s domestic problems with the EU standards, ensuring participation and awareness of all segments of general public and carrying out democratic reforms consistently.

1.2 The ANP does not have a status of a legal entity and this issue is regarded to be compliant with further organizational development of the CSF.      

1.3 The ANP founding members are those Armenian NGOs that received an invitation to attend the First EaP CSF held in 2009.

1.4 Within its mandate, the ANP shall engage in the following activities:

  • Ensuring active involvement and continuous participation of civil society organizations in EaP processes
  • Participation in the drawing up of a RoA national agenda within the EaP framework
  • Support to the realization of the national agenda by implementing relevant projects, making recommendations and conducting monitoring of the reform process. To that end the ANP undertakes relevant studies and expert analysis.

 2. ANP MEMBERSHIP

2.1 Any Armenian civil society organization can become an ANP member by expressly stating its intention to join it. The organizations that stated earlier their intention of joining the ANP shall be regarded ANP members unless they retracted that statement.

2.2 For the purposes of this Statute, the term “civil society organization” covers grassroots organizations, business associations, trade unions, professional associations, NGOs, think-tank organizations, non-profit foundations and other similar organizations.

2.3 The ANP member organizations can attend sessions of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly as non-voting participants and join the ANP working groups and sub-groups as well as set up sub-groups on their own.

2.4 ANP members can also contribute in the Thematic Platforms activities through CSF mechanisms and agendas-related recommendations, assessments, studies and other initiatives.

2.5 ANP members shall be entitled to be informed about the processes unfolding and the events staged within the CSF and EaP frameworks.

2.6 ANP member organizations can make statements and disseminate the results of their activities on behalf of the ANP provided a decision to that effect has been made by the CSF Armenia delegates’ general assembly. Otherwise, those materials shall be disseminated on behalf of the organization(s) on their behalf.

3. ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION

3.1  The ANP administration and regulation of activities shall be implemented by the following bodies:

a. the SCF Armenian National Coordinator

b. the CSF delegates’ general meeting

c. the Assembly of Armenian delegates to a current CSF

d. the Executive body

e. Working groups and sub-groups.

3.2 The SCF Armenian National Coordinator shall:

– represent the Armenian National Platform at the Civil Society Forum,

– coordinate ANP operation,

– chair of the CSF delegates’ general assembly, and the Assembly of delegates to a current Forum and the ANP executive body,

– perform other functions in conformity with the EaP CSF organizational principles,

– be accountable to the Assembly of delegates to a current Forum.

3.2.1 The National Coordinator shall be elected by simple majority vote of the delegates to a current Forum in a secret ballot.

3.2.2 The National Coordinator’s powers shall be terminated based on his or her resignation application, on a decision made by simple majority vote at the Assembly of delegates to a current Forum and in case it is impossible for the Coordinator to discharge his or her duties.

3.2.2 In the event of termination of the National Coordinator’s function a new National Coordinator shall be elected by the Assembly of delegates to a current Forum.

3.3 CSF delegates’ general assembly

3.3.1 The CSF delegates’ general assembly shall be formed by Armenian delegates to all CS Forums (organizations which has received an official invitation to participate in the CSF and confirmed their status by participating in the Forum shall be regarded as a delegate). The said delegates shall be entitled to the assembly’s membership by expressly confirming their participation in that body and by reaffirming their membership through informing the National Coordinator not later than one week prior to each annual meeting if the assembly.

The CSF delegates’ general assembly meeting has to be convened not later than one month after the Forum (annual meeting) and at least six times a year. When necessary, the National Coordinator shall convene a special meeting.

3.3.2 The CSF delegates’ general assembly shall:

a) come up with recommendations promoting effective EU-Armenia cooperation within the EaP framework based on the CSF recommendations,

b) formulate and implement the ANP Work plan,

c)   cooperate with the RoA state bodies and EU institutions on EaP and reforms issues,

d) coordinate its activities with the CSF National Platforms of other EaP countries  as well as with EU countries’ interested CSOs,

e) make recommendations on the basis of ANP members’ suggestions and on the ANP behalf concerning the agenda of subsequent Civil Society Forums,

f) assist the CSF Steering Committee in selecting participants for an upcoming Forum by presenting appropriate recommendations through the CSF National Coordinator (a short list),

g) ensure public awareness by engaging mass media.

3.3.3 The CSF delegates’ general assembly shall be competent if over a half of its members are present. The decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote of those present, with the exception of cases outlined in paragraphs 4.1 and 4.2 of the organizational principles.

3.4 Assembly of Armenian delegates of a current Forum

3.4.1 The Assembly of Armenian delegates of a current Forum shall be formed of the current year’s SCF Armenian delegates (organizations which have received an official invitation to participate in a CSF in a current year and which have participated in the Forum shall be regarded as delegates of the Assembly of delegates of a current Forum).

3.4.2 At its meeting the Assembly of Armenian delegates of a current Forum shall elect a National Coordinator (a member of the CSF Steering Committee) from among themselves by a simple majority vote and shall be competent to accept his or her resignation.

3.4.3 The meetings of the Assembly of delegates of a current Forum shall be convened by the National Coordinator or by the initiative of one third of the Assembly members.

3.4.4 The members of the Assembly of the Armenian delegates of a current Forum and of the CSF delegates’ general assembly shall be informed about the meetings , their venues, dates, time and agendas at least 72 hours prior to then by email or telephone.

3.4.5 The delegates of a current Forum shall retain their function till the next Forum. 

3.5 Coordinators of Working Groups shall:

– be elected by a simple majority vote of the CSF delegates’ assembly members involved in respective Working groups from among the delegates of a current Forum. Each member organization of the CSF delegates’ assembly shall be entitled to vote (to have the right of vote) only in one Working group;

– conduct current coordination in the working groups;

– ensure constant contacts between relevant ANP and CSF working groups.

3.5.1 The function of a working group Coordinator shall be terminated based on his or her resignation application, on a decision made by simple majority vote of the CSF delegates’ assembly members involved in a given working group with the right to vote or in case it is impossible for the Coordinator to discharge his or her duties.

3.5.2 In case of termination of the Working group Coordinator’s function a new Coordinator shall be elected.

3.6 Executive body

3.6.1 The executive body shall be composed of a National Coordinator and of working groups’ coordinators.

3.6.2 Working groups’ coordinators shall assist the National Coordinator in performing current functions related to the coordination of the ANP operation.

3.6.3 Depending on availability of funds, the executive body can set up a secretariat outlining the scope of its activities. The secretariat can be set up for performing technical functions.

3.7 Working groups and sub-groups

3.7.1 In order to achieve its goals the ANP shall establish working groups in line with EaP thematic platforms and CSF working groups.

3.7.2 The working groups shall:

– make and submit recommendations regarding their areas

– cooperate with relevant CSF working groups

– undertake other activities that promote reforms in their areas.

3.7.3 Any Armenian civil society organization can become a member of a working group.

3.7.4 The same ANP member organization can be represented in various working groups.

3.7.5 The civil society organizations that have ANP membership can set up additional sub-groups and make their own decisions concerning principles and priorities of those sub-groups’ operations. Coordinators of sub-groups can take part in the activities of the executive body.

 4. MAKING CHANGES IN AND ADDITIONS TO THE ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES. DISSOLUTION OF ANP

4.1 Changes in and additions to the organizational principles shall be made by the decision of the CSF delegates’ general assembly following an initiative of any ANP member, provided one third of the assembly’s members agree that the issue is placed on the agenda. In order for the decision to be reached over a half of the members of the CSF delegates’ general assembly have to vote for it. 

4.2 The ANP can be dissolved if two-thirds of the members of the delegates’ general assembly agree to that.

These Organizational principles were approved in the meeting of Armenian delegates of the three (2009, 2010, 2011) Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forums, held in Yerevan on September 13, 2011.

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