Statement of Steering Committee of EaP CSF regarding intention of Armeanian authorities to join Customs Union
The Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) expresses its deep regret with the statement of the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on Armenia’s intention to join the Customs Union. The consequence of this step would be a setback in the level and effectiveness of Armenia’s engagement in the Eastern Partnership, and in particular would negatively affect the perspective of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement.
- We respect Armenia’s sovereign right to choose the direction and model of integration with other countries, and the unconditioned priority it has to give to national interests in making its choices. At the same time we are concerned that the unexpected statement of the President Sargsyan came without any proper process of political debate and discussion based on solid arguments;
- We also note the tremendous efforts and resources which were invested by the European Union and Armenia in the course of negotiations on the Association Agreement which have been successfully finalised. Thus we can only be dismayed at the lost opportunities for Armenia which President Sargsyan’s statement represents.
- We call on the Armenian government to clarify its position to the European partners and, above all, to Armenian society.
- We express the hope that Armenia will stay on the track of European integration which was originally announced as priority for its external politics; we call on the EU institutions to continue the search for closer integration between the European Union and Armenia.
- We recognise the efforts the Armenian National Platform (ANP) has made in promoting the reform process in the country as formulated in the EaP Road Map, in monitoring developments and raising public awareness on the Eastern Partnership initiative;
- We urge the Armenian government to increase the level of its dialogue with the civil society and the ANP, in particular, in the agenda of EU-Armenia relations, and trust that the decision to join the Customs Union will not negatively affect this dialogue.
EaP CSF Steering Committee condemns attack on its members in Yerevan
Recent developments in Armenia where civil rights activists including members of the Armenian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum have been attacked by unknown assailants, is seen by many as an attempt to intimidate those people in the country who do not agree with the decision by President Serj Sargasyan to sign a customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The Steering Committee of the Eastern partnership Civil Society Forum condemns these methods which mark a retrograde step for democracy in Armenia which can only be based on a dialogue between citizens and an open debate on public policies. We demand that the Armenian authorities move vigorously to identify and punish the assailants and ensure that incidents like this are prevented in the future. The SC declares that it will monitor the situation in Armenia and will not hesitate to draw human rights infringements to the attention of relevant bodies.
About The Acts of Intimidation Towards Armenian Civic Activists
September 6, 2013
On September 5, 2013 around 22:10-22:20, in the neighborhood of Koghbatsi Street of Yerevan, a few steps away from the RA State Revenue Committee, near his garage Haykak Arshamyan, Project Coordinator of Yerevan Press Club, and Suren Saghatelyan, Board member of Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, were brutally attacked by 6-7 unknown men. Haykak Arshamyan and Suren Saghatelyan were hospitalized with severe injuries, contusion and fractures. The two civic activists are public figures and carry out their social activities within a legal framework.
Yerevan Press Club and Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center are actively involved in the activities of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. Haykak Arshamyan during the last two days largely participated in the civic protests against the announcement made by Serzh Sargsyan in Moscow regarding Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union, which took place in front of the RA presidential residence and the headquarters of the Republican Party of Armenia.
We, the undersigned, assess the attack as an act of intimidation aimed at all those, who have raised a voice of protest against the Armenian authorities, including NGOs, independent media, public figures and active citizens. We consider this to be a consequence of the prevailing climate of impunity in Armenia, human rights violations, selective law enforcement, the usual practice of political prosecution, the manifestation of which we have also witnessed during the recent days, as repressions were used against activists protesting the controversial construction work at Komitas Street 5 and in front of the Yerevan municipality.
We declare that the full responsibility for this act of intimidation falls on the authorities of Armenia, particularly the law enforcement bodies. If this crime is not solved as soon as possible, it will allow us to declare that this act of violence is directly sponsored by the Armenian authorities.
We urge the civil society and all the free citizens to remain strong, not to retreat before the hired thugs and their patrons, to continue the struggle for their personal rights and freedoms.As of now the statement is signed by: “Asparez” Journalists’ Club Yerevan Press Club “Protection of Consumers’ Rights” NGO Eurasia Partnership Foundation Media Initiatives Center (Formerly Internews -Armenia) Open Society Foundations-Armenia Media Diversity Institute-Armenia “Shirak Center” NGO “We Plus” NGO “Arena For Education” NGO Martuni Women’s Community Council NGO Armenian Helsinki Committee “Trtu” NGO Urban Foundation For Sustainable Development “Victims Of State Needs” NGO National Citizen’s Initiative NGO “Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Center NGO Children’s Support Foundation Civic Forum N NGO Regional Studies Center Foundation Committee To Protect Freedom Of Expression “Democracy And Electoral Processes” NGO “Farmers’ Movement” NGO Vanadzor Branch Of Helsinki Citizens Assembly Protection Of Rights Without Borders Harmonic Society – Armenian Association Of Social Workers “Rule Of Law” NGO Urbanlab Yerevan Architect’s Lab Women’s’ Resource Center Social And Cultural Innovation Lab Charitable Foundation (Skilfound) “Free University” Foundation “KhoranArd” Intellectual Center “Biosophia” Health, Environmental And Agriculture Development Center Shirak Branch of Sakharov Armenian Center For Human Rights Protection “Journalists For The Future” Ngo “Hay Santa” Charitable Foundation Goris Press Club Armenian Constitutional Right-Protective Centre (ACRPC) “Ecotourism” NGO “Araza” Benevolent NGO “Dilnet service” educational NGO 21st Century leaders’ forum Center for the Development of Civil Society “Family and community” charitable NGO “Shogher” Union NGO Aragatsotn Press Club “Iravaget serund” NGO ”Midia-Shangal” Yezidi National Union Communities Finance Officers Association of Armenia (CFOA)
The statement is open for signatures.