EaP CSF Armenian National Platform General Assembly was held in Yerevan
On November 20, 2019 the EU EaP Civil Society Forum Armenian National Platform General Assembly was held. There were two questions on the agenda of the event: “Enabling Environment for women human rights defenders, journalists, judges, politicians and public figures” and “EaP CSF Annual Assembly and the last and forthcoming developments within the Armenian National Platform”.
The speakers of the event were Maria Karapetyan, RA NA Deputy from “My Step” Faction, Marianna Grigoryan, Chief Editor of “Medialab” Newsroon-Laboratory, Hovsep Khurshudyan, President of “Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Center, Zhanna Aleksanyan, President of “Journalists for Human Rights” NGO, Lousineh Hakobyan, EaP CSF Armenia Country Facilitator, President of Europe in Law Association NGO, and Mikayel Hovhannisyan, Project Manager at Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Coordinator of the EaP CSF Working Group 1.
RA NA Deputy Maria Karapetyan spoke about the quota increase for women in the RA parliamentary elections, noting that along with quotas additional measures should be undertaken so that after several years women can reach political representation “through a natural way”. Another important thing, in Karapetyan’s opinion, is the legislation on hate speech, which will become quite a strict mechanism to react to the existing unfavorable environment.
Lousineh Hakobyan touched on the issue of hate speech becoming a greater concern among the society, and the necessity of taking measures to fight the phenomenon. In particular, she referred to the Council of Europe criteria on the matter and the activities that should be undertaken in the legal sphere, as well as in the spheres of media and education to eliminate hate speech especially against women public figures.
According to Hovsep Khurshudyan, although at first sight the encouraging quotas for women may seem artificial, and in reality, sometimes they lead not to the best personnel choice, the international experience shows that in the long run it can result in the increase of women’s engagement in the political and economic spheres and especially in their management.
Journalists for Human Rights NGO President Zhanna Aleksanyan presented her work with military structures on issues related to the protection of the rights of servicemen and subsequent humiliating expressions and attitude towards her in social networks and media by the spokesman of the Minister of Defense.
Medialab chief editor Marianna Grigoryan noted: “Women journalists, human rights defenders and in general women carrying out social-political activities are always targeted by various groups, being subjected to discrimination, hate speech, humiliation, since they are women. And women are not allowed to cross “lines”. While in case of men physical reprisal, swearing, threats approach is used, in case of women private life, appearance being a “woman” are in the focus, but almost never politics and actions”.
The second part of the Assembly was dedicated to the future activities of the CSF Armenian National Platform, in particular the discussion on the mechanism to establish the EU-Armenia Civil Society Platform envisaged by CEPA.
Later Andrea Wiktorin, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, joined the event making closing remarks, in which she emphasized the necessity of having open discussions on controversial issues and the importance of the civil society cooperation with the EU.
Meeting of the Armenian Participants of the 2019 EaP CSF Annual Assembly
On November 29, 2019 in the premises of Yerevan Press Club a meeting of the Armenian delegates and observers to the EaP CSF 11th Annual Assembly was held. The CSF Steering Committee members Lousineh Hakobyan, CSF Armenia Country Facilitator, and Mikayel Hovhannisyan, CSF Working Group 1 Coordinator, presented to the Armenian delegation members details on the preparation and organization of discussions for the CSF Annual Assembly to be held on December 4-6 in Brussels.