Statement of the Armenian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum
– Whereas the importance of the 2012 Parliamentary Elections for future progress of Armenia,
– Whereas the necessity to hold elections that are in compliance with the democratic expectations of the Armenian society and in accordance with the international standards,
– In respect to the importance of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia for EU-Armenia cooperation and implementation of reforms within the framework of the Eastern Partnership,
– In consideration of the responsibility of the Civil Society in promoting the provision of free, fair and transparent elections,
– In respect to the importance of more active efforts of the EaP Civil Society Forum in the process of development of democratic institutions in Eastern Partnership countries
The Armenian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum welcomes engagement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the process of observation of the elections, participation of the Armenian National Platform (ANP) members and other Armenian civil society organizations (CSOs) in monitoring of different components of electoral process, as well as in informing Armenian citizens about their electoral rights and obligations.
We consider natural and reasonable the fact that individual representatives of NGOs decide to enter politics and nominate themselves as candidates in elections.
At the same time, the ANP
- States that the NGOs in Armenia are diverse and cannot support any concrete political party in principal. The membership in a NGO cannot be based on political preferences, and the agenda of an organization cannot include the issue of supporting any of the political parties. These principles are based on the legislation of Republic of Armenia, which prohibits direct participation of CSOs in political activities. Thus, NGOs do not have the right of stating that they support this or that political party or candidate.
- Finds that the above mentioned refers also to compatriots associations since their statements of supporting this or that political party or candidate can serve as a reason for ethnic or regional strife.
- Considers the use of charity foundations in electoral campaigns not only serious violation of the existing legislation, but also discreditation of the idea of charity.
- Emphasizes that those representatives of CSOs that are nominated as candidates are acting exclusively as individuals and not as delegates of their organizations.
- States that CSO representatives nominated for elections must discontinue their involvement in the organization prior to elections and not later that the official launch of the election promotion.
- Considers inacceptable use of the grant funds given to organizations by local or international institutions for provision of advantage to this or that political party or candidate.
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”) Civil Society Forum (hereinafter: “CSF” or “Forum”) is a voluntary association of the Armenian civil society organizations (hereafter: “CSO”) formed in conformity with the mission and principles of the 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 At the moment of its formation 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 Assembly 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 their intention of joining the ANP earlier than the adoption of these Organizational Principles (hereafter: “Principles”) shall be regarded ANP members unless they retracted that statement.
2.2 For the purposes of these Principles, 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 Armenian 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 CSF Armenian National Coordinator
b. the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly
c. the Convention of Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly
d. the Executive body of ANP
e. Working groups and sub-groups of ANP.
3.2 The CSF Armenian National Coordinator shall:
– represent the Armenian National Platform at the Civil Society Forum,
– coordinate ANP operation,
– chair the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly, and the Convention of Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly and the ANP executive body,
– perform other functions in conformity with the EaP CSF ANP Organizational
– be accountable to the Convention of delegates to a current CSF Assembly .
3.2.1 The CSF Armenian National Coordinator shall be elected by simple majority vote of the delegates to a current Assembly of the Forum in a secret ballot.
3.2.2 The CSF Armenian National Coordinator’s powers shall be terminated based on his or her resignation application, on a decision made by simple majority vote at the of delegates to a current CSF Assembly of the and in case it is impossible for the Coordinator to discharge his or her duties.
3.2.3 In the case of termination of the CSF Armenian National Coordinator’s function a new CSF National Coordinator shall be elected by the Convention of delegates to a current Assembly of the CSF.
3.3 CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly
3.3.1 The CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly shall be formed by Armenian delegates to all CS Forums’ Assemblies (organizations which has received an official invitation to participate in the CSF Assemblies and confirmed their status by participating in the Assembly shall be regarded as a delegate). The said delegates shall be entitled to the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly’s membership by expressly confirming their participation in that body and by reaffirming their membership through informing the CSF Armenian National Coordinator not later than one week prior to each annual meeting if the general assembly.
3.3.2 Each ANP member may become a temporary member of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly – upon submission of a due application and in case of the approval by the majority CSF Armenian delegates general assembly’s. The competencies of the temporary member remain in force until the holding of the next CSF Assembly , after which they shall be either terminated or extended upon the decision made by the majority of the new composition of CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly,, with the exception of cases outlined in paragraph 3.3.4.
3.3.3 The functions of CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly members, as well as of the temporary members, are tacitly terminated in case of two unjustified absences within the period in between two CSF forums. The decision on the unjustified absences is rendered at the regular meeting of delegates. The termination of functions CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly members is in force until the next CSF Assembly, after which it shall be resumed under cases provided by Points 3.3.1 and 3.3.2, with the exception of cases outlined in paragraph 3.3.4.
3.3.4 The function of a CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly member may also be terminated, if respective organization violates the given Organizational Principles in a way that results in impediment of the proper operation of ANP and of its members. Depending on the gravity and the repetition of the violation, the function may be terminated up until the term in between the next one, two or three CSF Assemblies .
3.3.5 The CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly meetings has to be convened not later than one month after the Forum’s annual Assembly and at least six times a year. When necessary, the National Coordinator shall convene a special meeting.
3.3.6 The CSF Armenian 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 RA 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 the interested CSOs of EU countries’,
e) make recommendations on the basis of ANP members’ suggestions and on the ANP behalf concerning the agenda of subsequent Civil Society Forums’ Assemblies,
f) assist the CSF Steering Committee in selecting participants for an upcoming Forum’s Assembly by presenting appropriate recommendations through the CSF National Coordinator (a short list). At the same time, the organizations that have not participated in the previous Forum’s Assembly shall make at least the 50% of the presented short list, if the submitted applications allow for this.
g) ensure public awareness of EaP processes by engaging mass media.
3.3.7 The CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly shall be competent if over a half of its members is present. The decisions shall be made by a simple majority vote of those present, with the exception of cases outlined in paragraphs 3.3.2, 3.3.4, 4.1 and 4.2 of the organizational principles.
3.4 The Convention of Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly
3.4.1 The Convention of Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly shall be formed of the current year’s Assembly’s Armenian delegates (organizations which have received an official invitation to participate in a CSF Assembly in a current year and which have participated in the Assembly shall be regarded as delegates to a current Assembly ).
3.4.2 At its meeting the Convention of Armenian delegates to a CSF current s Assembly shall elect (on a personal basis) 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 Convention of Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly shall be convened by the National Coordinator or by the initiative of one third of the Convention members.
3.4.4 The members of the Convention of Armenian delegates to a CSF currents Assembly and of the CSF Armenian 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 Armenian delegates to a current CSF s Assembly shall retain their function till the next CSF Assembly .
3.5 Coordinators of ANP Working Groups shall:
– be elected (on a personal basis) by a simple majority vote of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly members involved in respective Working groups from among the Armenian delegates to a current CSF Assembly. Each member organization of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general 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 an ANP working group Coordinator shall be terminated based on his or her resignation application, on a decision made by simple majority vote of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general 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 ANP Working group Coordinator’s function a new Coordinator shall be elected.
3.6 ANP Executive body
3.6.1 The ANP executive body shall be composed of an ANP National Coordinator and of ANP working groups’ coordinators.
3.6.2 ANP 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 ANP 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 ANP 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 ANP 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 ANP additional sub-groups and make their own decisions concerning principles and priorities of those sub-groups’ operations. Coordinators of ANP sub-groups can take part in the operation of the executive body.
4. MAKING CHANGES IN AND ADDITIONS TO THE ANP ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES. DISSOLUTION OF ANP
4.1 Changes in and additions to the ANP Organizational Principles shall be made by the decision of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly following an initiative of any ANP member, provided one third of the general 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 Armenian delegates’ general assembly have to vote for it.
4.2 The ANP can be dissolved if two-thirds of the members of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly agree to that.
These Organizational Principles were adopted in the meeting of Armenian delegates of the three Assemblies (2009, 2010, 2011) of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, held in Yerevan on September 13, 2011, approved by the CSF Steering Committee on November 28, 2011 in Poznan and amended in the meeting of the CSF Armenian delegates’ general assembly, held in Yerevan on March 28, 2012.