EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue
Delegation of the European Union to Armenia
Press and Information Department
Yerevan, 6 December 2011
On 6 December 2011, the European Union and Armenia held the third round of human rights dialogue in Yerevan. As of today, the European Union is engaged in dedicated human rights discussions with close to 40 countries around the world.
The dialogue at expert level was held in a friendly, open and constructive atmosphere, with an exchange on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and concern, as well as discussions on possibilities for concrete cooperation in the field of human rights. The Armenian delegation was headed by Mr. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. The EU Delegation was headed by Dr. Riina Kionka, Head of the Human Rights Policy Guidelines Division at the European External Action Service.
The dialogue allowed for an exchange of views on the human rights situation both in Armenia and in the EU. In particular, the talks focused on: the national framework for the protection of human rights; the reform of the judiciary; elections and electoral framework, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, including the functioning of civil society; rights of vulnerable groups. The EU and Armenia also discussed human rights cooperation within international organisations, in particular at the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. The EU and Armenia agreed to hold a EU-Armenia civil society seminar before the next round of the human rights dialogue.
In keeping with the EU’s practice of incorporating the voice of society into its meetings on human rights with third countries, the EU met representatives of Armenian NGOs and international NGOs prior to the human rights dialogue.
Tigran Sargsyan Meets With Stefan Fule
Brussels, 5 December 2011
The parties concentrated on Armenia reforms and joint programs. Tigran Sargsyan said Armenia fully compliant with the commitments assumed before the EU.
“We are implementing serious and ambitious reforms. For instance, we yesterday submitted to the public a new World Bank-assisted concept of industrial development which had been discussed with political parties and non-governmental organizations in an open format of consultations,” the Prime Minister said adding that there is a wide consensus in Armenia as to the European integration.
“We expect to get your support in speeding up ongoing talks over the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement,” the Prime Minister noted.
“I feel we are working quite effectively toward developing EU-Armenia relations and cooperation,” Stefan Fule said in this connection.
With reference to EU-Armenia cooperation, Stefan Fule said to be pleased with the new program of ambitious reforms as they bring together the existing priorities including the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement.
Concerning the reconstruction of Armenia-Georgia border check-points, the parties looked at the possibility of providing financial assistance under the project.
Issues relating to visa requirement-facilitation talks, EU macro-financial assistance, implementation of Armenia reforms have been discussed during the meeting plus the possibility of expanding the EU support under the “More for More” principle.
Tigran Sargsyan and Stefan Fule stated the progress in political talks. Noting that there is a new platform of Armenia-EU dialog with a new agenda of reforms consisting of 33 key areas, the parties highlighted the importance of harmonizing it in a single.
Before his meeting with Stefan Fule, Tigran Sargsyan had a working lunch with member of European Parliament Tomas Poreba with a bilateral cooperation agenda. The parties have discussed the ongoing reform process, as well as the overview of internal and external political developments.
A series of visits is taking place across the six countries participating in the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Culture Programme, aimed at setting priorities for the cultural sector and boosting ties between cultural actors in the region.
The research visits to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova took place last month, while the last round table will take place in Ukraine on December 16. The visits are organised by the Regional Monitoring and Capacity Building Unit (RMCBU) of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme with the aim of tapping in to cultural priority issues. They aimed to establish contacts with key stakeholders of the Programme in each country, and to identify specific policy areas to be further strengthened at national and regional levels.
Fieldwork included roundtable discussions with key government and civil society stakeholders, meetings with key actors in the culture sector, Programme presentations, as well as the collection of background data for the elaboration of baseline studies on cultural policies in the Eastern Partnership countries.
The studies will form the basis for proposals on capacity building activities which have been identified in priority areas for public and private culture stakeholders, and are due to be implemented by the RMCBU between 2012 and 2014.
A key event of the visits was a one-day roundtable discussion held by the RMCBU in each country, providing an opportunity to share information about the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme, discuss needs and priorities for reforming and reinforcing the cultural sector, and share knowledge on regional and national culture projects and initiatives.
Around 40 participants from the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, national and local authorities responsible for culture, EU Delegations, NGOs, research and academic institutions, and the private sector attended the event. In total, during its three to five-day visits to each partner country, the RMCBU had the opportunity to meet around 500 representatives of the culture sectors.
The €12 million Eastern Partnership Culture Programme aims at assisting the Partner Countries in their cultural policy reform at government level, as well as capacity building and improving professionalism of cultural operators in the region. It seeks to strengthen regional cultural links and dialogue within the Eastern Partnership region, and between the EU and ENP Eastern countries’ cultural networks and actors. (ENPI Info Centre)
This monitoring report has been prepared by the representatives of civil society organizations in the EaP 6 countries and their international partners within the Human Rights Sub-working group of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
The aim of the report is to ensure that detailed information regarding the actual situation on the ground in the Eastern Partnership states is available to the participants of intergovernmental meetings within the EaP, and to all other interested parties.
This report, second in a series, aims to grasp the most relevant trends currently shaping the human rights situation in the six EaP countries. In order to keep the report brief, the list of issues is non-exhaustive and primarily focuses on the freedom of speech, association and assembly.
The report was compiled by the Helsinki Citizens` Assembly Vanadzor and the Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia), Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (Azerbaijan), Belarusian Schuman Society (Belarus/Poland), Human Rights Center (Georgia), Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT (Moldova), Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Ukraine) in cooperation with People in Need (Czech Republic).
Download – Monitoring report on the human rights situation in the Eastern Partnership countries (November 2011)