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Armenia: PACE monitors welcome the launch of reforms and call for concrete results

“The Armenian authorities are acutely aware of the extremely high expectations of the population for change. It is therefore important that the reforms now being formulated lead to concrete and tangible results,” said the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Armenia, Yuliya Lovochkina (Ukraine, SOC) and Andrej Šircelj (Slovenia, EPP/CD), following a visit to Yerevan from 12 to 14 March 2019.

The co-rapporteurs welcomed the commitment of MPs to give the Armenian National Assembly a central role in the institutional system, and the wish of members of the executive for a better distribution of powers. “The ‘vertical of power’ tradition is old in Armenia, and any declared willingness to put into place a real balance of powers can only be welcomed,” said the co-rapporteurs, emphasising that this could help a genuine democratic culture to take root in Armenia, marked by tolerance and the acceptance of a plurality of opinions.

During their meetings, the co-rapporteurs were informed that in some areas, such as gender equality and the fight against corruption, there was a clear change of attitude and tone on the part of the authorities, and that the first tangible results in the fight against corruption had been achieved. “We welcome the many major reforms being prepared, concerning the independence of the judiciary, the adoption of a new criminal policy and the creation of institutions specifically dedicated to fighting corruption and discrimination, and equally welcome the stated intention to develop these policies in an inclusive manner,” they said.

The co-rapporteurs will carefully follow the concrete implementation of these reforms. They called on the Armenian authorities to take advantage of the current very high level of public support to step up their efforts in the field of social reform, including improvements to social services for all Armenians, as well as reforms on subjects sensitive to Armenian society, such as the fight against domestic violence, inequalities between women and men, or the rights of LGBTI persons. They also called on all interlocutors to ensure Armenia ratifies the Istanbul and Lanzarote Conventions, which it has signed.

Following a previous visit in May 2018, the co-rapporteurs praised the maturity with which Armenian political forces and the Armenian people had managed the peaceful revolution and the political transition that followed. “This transition has now been completed with the elections of December 2018, considered free and fair by all international observers and the vast majority of Armenian political actors we met,” they said.

“The changes the country is going through are profound. The Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly are at the disposal of the Armenian people and their representatives to ensure the successful preparation and implementation of these changes,” concluded Ms Lovochkina and Mr Šircelj.