“Sadly, we are today on the list of countries that are at the center of human rights organizations’ attention,” “Hayk” writes in an editorial. “They include the United Nations whose special rapporteur on human rights is in Armenia at the moment, meeting with government and opposition representatives and human rights defenders.” But, says the opposition paper, the Armenian authorities should have no reason to worry about such fact-finding trips seeing as they face little pressure from the international community. “We must realize that international organizations and democratic states will only give us indirect assistance on the issue of democratizing Armenia, and only if they are convinced that we really want to live in a democratic and take meaningful steps to change the situation in Armenia,” it says.
“Golos Armenii” reports that parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian met with Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), on the sidelines of an international conference in Cyprus this week. Citing the Armenian parliament’s press service, the paper says they discussed, among other issues, Cavusoglu’s plans to revive the work of a PACE subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They agreed that the PACE should act “very carefully” in this area and should not harm Armenian-Azerbaijani talks held within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.
“Hovik Abrahamian advised Cavusoglu not to hurry in setting up the subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” Gegham Gharibjanian, the chief of the Armenian parliament staff who was present at the meeting, tells “Golos Armenii.” According to Gharibjanian, Cavusoglu downplayed his role in the decision to resume PACE involvement in the Karabakh peace process.
Zaruhi Postanjian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Zharangutyun Party, tells “168 Zham” that government efforts to reform Armenia’s electoral legislation will lead nowhere unless the authorities punish those responsible for the deaths of ten people in the aftermath of the February 2008 presidential election. Postanjian also makes the point that the situation with democracy and human rights in Armenia has not improved since the country joined the Council of Europe in 2001.
“Aravot” quotes Isabella Sargsian, an opposition activist campaigning against a government bill on foreign-language schools, as dismissing Prime Minister Tigran’s argument that the bill is needed for only allowing two international schools to open branches in Armenia. She says Armenian law already allows for the existence of a limited number of schools. “This legal loophole, free breakfasts to be distributed by the Russian Federation to school students and so on are steps which I can not understand and am wary of,” she says.