STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUBLIC COUNCIL OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA ON THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM STATEMENT OF 30.11.20

31.01.2013

STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUBLIC COUNCIL OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA ON THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM STATEMENT OF 30.11.2012

January 16, 2013
Yerevan, Armenia

During the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Stockholm in November 2012, due to the efforts of some members of the Armenian delegation, a non-adequate statement was adopted on developments in the civil society of Armenia.
Presenting in the statement the efforts of the recent years aimed at developing civil society organizations in Armenia in a distorted way, actually an attempt is made to discredit and impede certain constructive initiatives.
Specifically, the Law “On the Public Council of the RA” and draft of “The Strategy Concept of Development of Civil Society Organizations in the RA”, designed by the Committee on Civil Society Development of the PC (PC CCSD), are under consideration.
The RA Public Council is analogous to “Economic and Social Councils” functioning in more than 60 countries of the world and which were formed in Western Europe back in the 20s of the twentieth century. The Public Council of the RA has been a member of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions since 2009. The functioning Public Council, as well as the one intended by the draft law, is open to all non-governmental, non-profit organizations and aims at promoting the processes of social partnership between CSOs and government bodies, of public scrutiny, system checks and balances. Meanwhile, the erroneous statement of Stockholm November 30, 2012 attempts to create the opposite impression.
The draft of “The Strategy Concept of Development of Civil Society Organizations in the RA” has been worked out clearly and solely acknowledging the priority aims of enhancing civil society institutions and developing democracy in the RA.
The document comprises formulations of issues on the way of developing the civil society in Armenia, grounded proposals concerning their possible solutions and resources. It has been formed relying on international experience and keeping in mind national features. It is based on assessments of current issues given by profound organizations, on proposals of international and national experts. Corresponding references are made in the text of the Draft Concept.
Before submitting it to the President, the Draft Concept was put before the broad public. It was discussed by the PC CCSD (22.09.2012), at the enlarged meeting (12.10.2012), at the representative conference held for that specific purpose on 26.10.2012, at the PC meeting. The discussions were attended by PC members and representatives of hundreds of CSOs involved in the PC CCSD, members of the RA National Assembly (NA), Government representatives, non-governmental organizations not involved in the PC structures, officials of international organizations. Only after the discussion and expertise stage and after being amended the Draft Concept was submitted to the RA President and Government as the position of the Public Council and numerous CSOs involved in it.
By the way, the Concept was also discussed during the event held by Partnership for Open Society Initiative on 05.11.2012 where the head of the expert group preparing the Concept was one of the chief guest speakers. This event was attended by members of some organizations initiating the Stockholm Statement. It is noteworthy, that no proposal was then voiced by them concerning the contents of the Concept besides the bewildering statement, to say the least, that the RA PC or the structures involved in it have no right to propose such a document.
Nevertheless, the RA Security Council Secretariat, EU Advisory Group in the RA, representatives of science-research centers have also reacted positively to the Draft Concept. A number of local and international non-governmental organizations, including the public network for collaboration with the NA and government bodies (comprising 164 non-governmental organizations), Civil Society collaboration network (30 organizations), etc., have come up with statements supporting the PC initiative.
Yet, some figures that constitute only a trifle part of thousands of CSOs of Armenia and that are unappeasably eager to speak in the name of the Armenian civil society, not having depleted local possibilities of debating issues, have initiated a process of adopting a discrediting statement and demonizing the processes flowing in their own country before and in the name of regional and European colleagues. It should be noted that the Statement has caused bewilderment and displeasure of the Armenian civil society organizations, as well as of some organizations involved in the Armenian platform of the Eastern Partnership.
Many realities have been distorted and showed in a distorting mirror in the Stockholm Statement; unawareness of some issues and not diligent haste are also evident.
For instance, authors of the Statement find dangerous the clause of the Draft Concept that “proposes formation of public councils under different ministries”. Although the idea is quite good even in that formulation, the Concept actually speaks about improving the work of colleges adjacent to ministries formed by the RA Government decision back in 2008, about making it more transparent, about providing proper representation of the civil society organizations there ( Draft, point 3.1.7.).
The Statement authors also find dangerous the proposal to form a Civil Society Support Fund to regulate government support for CSOs, to eliminate any shadow phenomena in the sphere, while its analogues have been functioning in some EU countries (Hungary, Estonia, Czech Republic, Croatia) and it has been recommended in the documents of some prominent international organizations (see Draft, point 4.2.; 4.3.; 4.4.).
An attempt is made in the Stockholm Statement to create the impression that the RA SCDCSO draft intends to restrain activities of charity organizations, meanwhile everything is vice versa. The Draft offers to reduce bureaucratic procedures in implementing charity projects and to facilitate government control over them (Draft, point 3.2.).
Besides, the authors of the Stockholm Statement consider dangerous from the position of democracy development the fact that, out of the civil society conflict-polar and partnership (intending mutual control and interconnection) models of government-CSOs relations, the Draft Concept gives preference to the latter (Draft, point 2.3.). This position of the authors causes questions and bewilderment among the representatives of civil society and professionals.
The fact that some EaP Civil Society Forum members have cared to vote for “a statement” merely after its introduction by a third party, without having the material or being acquainted with it, as there is no English or Russian translation of the Concept or the draft Law, causes astonishment, not to say more.
We call on our Armenian colleagues, authors of the Statement designed at the EaP Civil Society Forum to keep away from limited mercenary motives, to refrain from dangerous aspirations of expropriating the Armenian civil society sphere and from making unilateral and biased statements in its name; to stop distorting events before our foreign colleagues, by merely criticizing negative phenomena, and to stop demonizing even positive processes and trends in the latters' name.
We urge the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum to go into details, to thoroughly study arguments for and against, to be cautious and wary when estimating something, before making decisions, specifically before coming up with statements condemning certain initiatives.
Meanwhile, we believe participants of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum would have formed a far more adequate opinion about the RA Public Council and the above mentioned initiatives if it were not for the unnecessary haste of some Armenian delegation members of the forum and if they had had the translation of the Draft Concept (which will be submitted to organizations concerned in the near future).

HOVHANNES HOVHANNISYAN
Chairman of the Committee on Civil Society Development of the Public Council of the RA,
Head of the Expert group developing the Draft Concept,
PhD in Philosophy,
Head of the “Caucasus” Sociological Researches Centre
caucasus_ngo@yahoo.com
GEGHETSIK GRIGORYAN
Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
President of “Support to Constitutional State” NGO,
PhD in Law
ggrigoryan08@rambler.ru
EDGAR HAKOBYAN
Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
“President of “Free Society Institute” NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
edgarrhakobyan@gmail.com
VARDAN ALOYAN
Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
“PanArmenian Publishing House”, Chief Editor
valoyan@mail.ru
ASTGHIK GEVORGYAN
PC Member, Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
President of the “Union of Journalists of Armenia”
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
domjur3@rambler.ru
MOVSES DEMIRCHYAN
Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
“Dialogue” Scientific-cultural Centre NGO,
PhD in Philosophy
d.movses@gmail.com
YURY HOVAKANYAN
Presidium Member of the PC CCSD,
Co-Chair of “Unity of the Georgian Armenians” NGO,
PhD in Philosophy
haynar777@rambler.ru

The Statement of the Committee of Civil Society Development
of the PC of the RA has been joined by

YELENA VARDANYAN
Committee on Demographic and Gender Affairs of the RA Public Council,
Committee Chairperson,
PhD in History
elenavard@rambler.ru
YURI JAVADYAN
Public council Member,
Chairman of the Committee of Agriculture and Environment
awd@hjni.am
VAZGEN SAFARYAN
Public Council Member,
Chairman of “Local Producers Union” NGO
cot-am@yandex.ru
ARMEN TER-TACHATYAN
Public Council Member,
Director of “Ter-Tachatyan” legal and business consulting company,
PhD in Law
armen.ter-tachatyan@ter-tachatyan.am
ATOM MARGARYAN
Expert, Dean of the Department of Regulation of Economy
and International Economic Relations,
PhD in Economics
margaryana.61@mail.ru
ASHOT ALEKSANYAN
Presidium member of the Committee on State
and Legal Affairs of the Public Council,
PhD in Political Science
ashaleksanyan@yahoo.com
NONA MARGARYAN
President of “Professionals for Civil Society” NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
pfcs@professionals@gmail.com
YERMONYA GYULASARYAN
PC CCSD Member,
President of “Paradox” Culture and Youth NGO
munasmart@yahoo.com
GEVORG MANUKYAN
PC CCSD Member,
Chairman of “Armenian Constitutional Right-Protective Center NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
gmanoukian@acrpc.am
AHARON ADIBEKYAN
“Memorial” Human Rights, Historical, Educational and Charitable Society,
Board President, PhD in Philosophy
gmanoukian@acrpc.am
GEGHETSIK GULAKYAN
Chairperson of “Progress” NGO
geghetsik@live.com
GEVORG HARUTYUNYAN
PC CCSD Member,
“Arar” Culture NGO, journalist
gevorg-hr@rambler.ru
RUZAN KRPEYAN
PC CCSD Member,
Chairperson of “Tatul Krpeyan Union” NGO
ruzanna.krpeyan@gmail.com
VARDAN ONANYAN
PC CCSD Member,
TV Journalist
vardanonanyan@gmail.com
LIA IVANYAN
PC CCSD Member,
“Kamar Art” Fund
lia_ivanyan@yahoo.com
RUZAN GHAZARYAN
PC CCSD Member,
“Labour and Motherland” NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
ruzanvayk@rambler.ru
NAZELI VARDANYAN
Chairperson of “Forests of Armenia” NGO
vnazeli@mail.ru
SIRAK MARTIROSYAN
PC CCSD Member,
Head of Tavush development NGO
sirakmartirosyan@rambler.ru
TATEVIK HOVHANNISYAN
PC CCSD Member,
Lecturer at the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University,
PhD in Philosophy
tatev_ha@live.ru
AIDA TOPUZYAN
“Women’s Republican Council” NGO, Chairperson
Doctor in Pedagogics, Professor
aidatopuzyan@yahoo.com
TAMARA ABRAHAMYAN
President of “Araza” NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
araza.ngo@gmail.com
SASHUR QALASHYAN
Honored Architect of the RA,
Member of the Subcommittee on urban Planning and Architecture
qsashur@mail.ru
ARTAK GHAZARYAN
''Civil Initiative for Reliable Information'' NGO, Chairperson
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
ngohtqn@gmail.com
ARAIK KARAPETYAN
«Khachakir» (Crusader) cultural NGO
Member of the Armenian Platform of the Eastern Partnership
khachakir@gmail.com
NARINE DAVTYAN
Head of «Haytur» social-economical and cultural NGO,
Member of the Committee on Demographic and Gender Affairs of the RA Public Council nardav55@yahoo.com
SIRAK HOVHANNISYAN
Chairman of the History and Political Science Department of the
Human Sciences Center of the SEUA,
PhD in Political Science
hovhannisyan1958@bk.ru
NELLY BAGHDASARYAN
Lecturer at the History and Political Science Department of the
Human Sciences Center of the SEUA,
PhD in Political Science
EDIK GEVORGYAN
PC CCSD Member,
Dean of the History and Law faculty of the ArmSPU,
PhD in History
jurhistfac@armspu.am
LEVON SHIRINYAN
Member of PC CCSD,
Chairman of the Chair of Political Science and History of Law,
Doctor in Political Science
politright@armspu.am
ALEKSANDR MANASYAN
President of the Academy of Political Researches NGO
Doctor in Philosophy
manasyan-a22@mail.ru
GARIK KERYAN
Head of the Chair of Political Institutes and Processes of YSU,
Doctor in Political Science
garik_keryan@mail.ru
HOVHANNES SARGSYAN
Head of the Chair of Political Theory of the
Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University,
PhD in Philosophy
sarkishov@mail.ru
SAMSON MKHITARYAN
Head of ''Demos'' Research Analytical Centre,
PhD in Sociology
mkkitaryans@yahoo.com

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