EaP CSF Armenian National Platform Met with the Chairs of RA National Assembly 2 Standing Committees
On July 15, 2017 a meeting was held between the members of Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum and Naira Zohrabyan, Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on European Integration, and Armen Ashotyan, Chair of the RA NA Standing Committee on Foreign Relations.
Boris Navasardian, EaP CSF Armenia Country Facilitator, made an opening remark, mentioning that after the meeting with the representatives of the RA Government several months ago, Armenian National Platform is willing to establish working relations with RA NA Standing Committees. Afterwards, the speakers presented the activities of the NA Standing Committees, the work of the Armenian delegations at Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly, as well as their vision of cooperation with civil society in light of the EU-Armenia relations. At the end the speakers answered the questions of the participants, and an active discussion took place. For more information on the event follow the links:
July 15, 2017
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform finds unacceptable the censorship and discrimination displayed within the framework of “Golden Apricot” film festival.
Neglecting the agreement reached in advance, Union of Cinematographers of Armenia refused to provide Malyan Theatre hall owned by them to “Golden Apricot” 14th International Film Festival. This resulted in the withdrawal of the non-competition screening of around 40 films within the programme entitled “Armenians: Internal and External View”. According to the representatives of the Union, the refusal to provide space was conditioned by the ongoing mourning in the institution with regard to the death of UCA President Ruben Gevorgyants on May 23, 2017. However, lots of evidence suggests that the real reason of the refusal are the documentary “Listen to Me” and the feature film “Apricot Groves” included in the above-mentioned non-competition programme and touching upon the theme of LGBT community.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform considers this an extremely reprehensible manifestation of censorship and discrimination and has every reason to assume that what happened was a result of pressure imposed by some circles (including very influential ones) of Armenia. We will be consistent in disclosing those responsible for this shameful incident.
Taking note of the fact that “Golden Apricot” has always been a platform for free expression and has never yielded to any political, ideological or other limitations, we express our profound indignation at the interference with the content of the film festival.
Taking into consideration that the incident followed a number of other events of concern, in particular the postponement of the circulation of draft laws on “Equal Rights” and “Domestic Violence”, we expect from the RA authorities fulfillment of the international commitments undertaken by the State, including consistent implementation of the EU-Armenia cooperation agenda.
Stating that the incident has a negative impact on the reputation of the country and runs contrary to the process of Armenia’s joining the “Creative Europe” promising programme, we demand from the RA Ministry of Culture and other competent bodies to demonstrate determination in order to prevent any pressure on artistic freedom.
Realizing the importance of consolidation of adequate and progressive forces, we call on the persons in charge of “Golden Apricot” film festival to remain committed to the principles, due to which the festival has gained international recognition, and suggest a closer cooperation with Armenian civil society, particularly EaP CSF Armenian National Platform in order to confront any pressure more efficiently.
Welcoming the readiness of various organizations to screen the discussed films, as well as to present the whole “Armenians: Internal and External View” programme outside the official framework of the festival, we acknowledge it as an evidence of mobilization of public resource to confront discrimination and censorship. We are convinced that manifestations of intolerance have nothing to do with national interests and are nothing but a provocation aimed at hampering Armenia’s progress.
On Recent Developments on the Line of Contact of Karabakh Conflict
July 11, 2017
Sharing the pain and sorrow with regard to the death of two and serious injury of one civilian in the Azerbaijani village of Alkhanli on July 4, 2017;
Noting that despite the establishment of ceasefire in May 1994, hundreds of civilians have become victims and a number of civilian objects have been damaged on both sides;
Underlining that as a direct result of the four-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan in April 2016, the security of civilian population has become particularly vulnerable, and the relative peace in the region has got far more fragile;
Expressing resentment over the impunity, moreover the glorification of Azerbaijani servicemen, who during the last year’s aggression killed and wounded Armenian children in Martuni school yard, and cynically tortured and mutilated the civilians of Armenian village of Talish and the Armenian captured soldiers;
Stating that the absence of an adequate response to war crimes increases the brutality and inhumanity of the acts;
Joining the civil society representatives’ call addressed to competent international and national bodies to thoroughly investigate the tragic incident in Alkhanli village, as well as the preceding cases of deaths of civilians and destruction of civilian objects on both sides of the line of contact;
Recalling official Baku’s responsibility for the non-implementation of the agreements reached in May 2016 upon the installation of ceasefire monitoring mechanisms;
Considering the claims put in the neighboring country before the OSCE Minsk Group and other international entities to investigate the latest single incident as another manifestation of hypocrisy, inconsistent, unilateral and destructive approach to the resolution of the problems;
Pointing out that the closure of OSCE Office in Yerevan on the initiative of official Baku makes obvious the latter’s tendency to diminish the role of international institutions;
Remaining committed to the principles of political resolution of Karabakh conflict through negotiations,
We, the members of Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF ANP), call on:
- the parties of conflict to categorically avoid the deployment and use of firing points in human settlements, eliminate skirmishes, armed clashes and acts of sabotage, which may harm civilians;
- European Union and international community in general to exert firm pressure on Azerbaijan so that the latter stops blocking the agreements reached in Vienna on May 16, 2016 and Saint Petersburg on June 20, 2016 on the installation of ceasefire monitoring mechanisms;
- colleagues within EaP Civil Society Forum to express their position of principle on the necessity of immediate installation of the above-mentioned mechanisms, as well as elimination of artificial obstacles, including the unlawful repressions against journalists and activists, for a non-formal and constructive dialogue between the representatives of Armenian and Azerbaijani civil societies.