Remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Vahe Gevorgyan at the 20th anniversary of Armenia’s membership in CoE18 October, 2021
Distinguished Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am glad to welcome you at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.
Following the World War II, the European leaders initiated the process of promoting the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout Europe, as cornerstones of the peaceful future of Europe. Thus, the first Pan-European institution - the Council of Europe was founded on May 5, 1949, by the Treaty of London, which already has 47 full members. The city of Strasbourg in the Alsace region was symbolically chosen as the headquarters of the organization.
During 72 years of its existence, the Council of Europe has consolidated the conventional system of the European Continent - the European standards and norms that have laid grounds for accomplishing the goals of the Council of Europe.
Since the declaration of independence, Armenia has chosen the path of democracy. That choice was obvious. Armenia with its history and culture, the Armenian society with its values are an inseparable part of the European family. From 1991 until its full membership to the Council of Europe, Armenia substantiated its choice and became a full member of the Council of Europe on 25 January 2001. Ten years after the declaration of independence, the flag of the Republic of Armenia was hoisted in front of the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.
On many occasions, particularly in the last two parliamentary elections the people of Armenia once again reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, human rights and rule of law.
The activities of the Council of Europe are aimed at ensuring the individual and collective fundamental human rights. Armenia follows the recommendations of the Council of Europe's statutory bodies, independent monitoring bodies and advisory committees. A number of governmental bodies of Armenia are engaged in the activities of this multifaceted organization.
The Action Plan - one of the toolkits of the Council of Europe, through which the organization helps Armenia and other countries to fulfill their commitments and introduce European standards, is essential for Armenia. Currently, the fourth 2019-2022 Action Plan for Armenia is ongoing. Distinguished Ambassadors, this project is implemented through the voluntary contribution of your countries and the EU and I would like to express our gratitude in this regard.
While glancing back at the 20-years long journey of Armenia since its membership to the Council of Europe, I should underline that enormous work has been carried out with the support of the organization. Armenia has joined 83 conventions of the Council of Europe, 66 of which have been ratified. Besides, Armenia has also joined 12 partial Agreements of the Council of Europe.
The activities of the European Court of Human Rights are of utmost importance in terms of ensuring the rights of the citizens of Armenia. The court also has a significant role in protecting the rights of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives being held in Azerbaijan as a result of the 44-day war unleashed against Artsakh.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished Ambassadors,
It is important to highlight that both Armenia and Azerbaijan committed themselves, upon their accession to the Council of Europe, to use only peaceful means for settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Therefore, the 44-day war in 2020 demonstrates that Azerbaijan has neglected this commitment, thus, it should be properly addressed by the Council of Europe.
You are well aware of the challenges Armenia encounters today. The humanitarian consequences of the war of aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against the people of Artsakh are one of the most urgent issues. The involvement of our international partners, including the Council of Europe, is of utmost importance. We consider that there should not be any “grey zones” in Europe for people to exercise their fundamental rights.
The Secretary-General, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the PACE, the European Court of Human Rights, and relevant monitoring bodies have already tried to react in accordance with their mandates. Yet, the Committee of Ministers still has its role to play and I believe your presence here will help to move forward.