Statement by Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the 129 th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

17 May, 2019

Mr. Chairperson,
Mr. Secretary General,
Dear colleagues,

First of all, I extend my warm congratulations to Finland for an effective Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

I would like to thank Secretary General Jagland for his tireless efforts and the grand vision for the future of this Council shown throughout his mandate. Big thank you and profound respect!

I have five points to make.

First, the Council of Europe is not a security organization and all issues of security should be addressed through the perspective of human rights. The selective approach to principles of international law particularly when it is done at the expense of equal rights and self-determination of peoples undermines the idea of democratic security. This principle resonates particularly strongly within the walls of the Finlandia Hall with its message of 1975.

Second, building hospitals, schools or having babies in conflict areas are not acts “against public international law”. Human rights, human dignity and their protection can not be applied selectively. The Commissioner for Human Rights should not be obstructed from delivering protection to all. The term “grey zones” is wrong, there should not be any.

Third, prevention of mass atrocities also lies at the heart of democratic security. We should be resolute about condemning denigration of victims and their dignity, and justification of heinous crimes. President of Turkey on 24 of April, of all dates in the calendar, justified crimes perpetrated against the victims of the Armenian Genocide by calling them “Armenian gangs and their supporter”, whose “relocation” was “the only reasonable action”. This is a disturbing warning sign to all who are serious about prevention of mass atrocities.

Fourth, with the peaceful Velvet Revolution one year ago, Armenia and its people demonstrated the powers, ideals and values of a democratic society. With an overwhelming support and sustained strong public mandate following the parliamentary elections last December, Armenia reconfirmed the powers of political will for securing uncontested democratic elections. Political will to protect and advance democracy is at the heart of the policies of our Government. We have also demonstrated that confusing values and geopolitics is unnecessary and dangerous.

Fifth, against the background of multiple challenges to our collective commitments European unity is in compelling demand. Complacency about values of democracy and human rights, and tolerance to their failures are a cause of collective amnesia. We forget that democracy, human rights and the rule of law have been a result of arduous work of the past 70 years. We need to be reminded about the catastrophic alternatives to a democratic society in Europe. Common democratic European space cannot be taken for granted. Both our national and our collective European institutions need consistent reinforcement. No society and no member state is an exception. The Council of Europe is in demand as ever. All its statutory bodies need reinforcement, the Parliamentary Assembly needs to be fully cleansed of corruption. The report of the Secretary General deserves support as a meaningful and compelling roadmap for reforms. Zero real growth is the minimum first step to securing sustainability of this institution. The message of the 70th Anniversary derives not only from the 1949 Treaty of London, but also from the end of the Cold War about 30 years ago. We cannot go back to divisions of the past. The Council and the values and principles it is built upon need recommitment of its members.

Pour terminer, je voudrais souligner notre soutien plein et entier a la Présidence française prochaine. Vous pouvez compter sur nous dans leur mise en œuvre. Je vous souhaite plein succes dans vos engagements importants.  


Thank you!


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