Human Rights Defender of Armenia to speak at the European Parliament, hold high-level meetings with EU institutions
Armen Harutyunyan, the Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) of Armenia, will be in Brussels from November 15 to November 18, 2010, in order to meet with European Institutions. The visit is organized by AGBU Europe.
On the occasion of his visit, Mr Harutyunyan will address a special meeting of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The meeting, which is open to observers, will be held on 15th November at 5:30pm to 6:30pm in the European Parliament.
Mr Harutyunyan will also speak at a round table of experts convened jointly by AGBU Europe and European Friends of Armenia on November 16 at 1pm and hold a debate with the Armenian community in Brussels in the evening of the 16th. These events will focus on the state of democracy and human rights in Armenia, particularly in the context of intensifying EU-Armenia relations, and on the role of the Human Rights Defender. A number of other meetings with EU Member of Parliament and officials have also been scheduled.
Armen Harutyunyan was elected first Human Rights Defender for 6 years in a vote of the National Assembly held on February 17, 2006 , as provided by article 83.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. The mission of the Human Rights Defender is to investigate and formulate expert legal opinions on the actions of public authorities in Armenia and on the conformity of new legislation with the constitution and with human rights standards. His statements have provided a much-needed anchor for public debate on matters relating to democracy and the rule of law. The Ombudsman’s credibility and influence depend on his ability to remain loyal to his mandate and independent from political forces in Armenia.
The effective establishment institution of the Ombudsman in Armenia has been praised by the European Union on a number of occasions. The European Commission’s report on the European Neighbourhood Policy implementation progress for Armenia for 2009, for instance, stated that “the independence of the institution of the Human Rights Defender (HRDO) in the political system and its role for the protection of human rights was further strengthened. Overall, the trend in the number of complaints received by the HRDO is increasing, confirming the growing credibility of this institution”.
Mr Harutyunyan’s visit in Brussels is part of a series of events organized by AGBU Europe in the context of its work with the European institutions.
AGBU Europe is the European branch of the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. AGBU Europe representation in Brussels carries out advocacy work with the EU institutions on issues related to culture, education and intercultural dialogue, on the EU’s relationship with the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh and Turkey’s negociations to join the European Union. A series of seminars, round tables, meetings continue to be regularly organized in order to initiate and nurture strategic thinking in the AGBU Europe and the Armenian Diaspora on AGBU Europe’s interests and aspirations, on their relevance to the EU’s agenda and on the best way to achieve them in this context.