Tag Archives: Arpine Hovhannisyan

On 27 November the campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence” (GBV) was officially launched in Matenadaran, Yerevan, to raise public awareness of and hold different events on GBV across Armenia. The campaign takes place from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10 (Human Rights Day). This year’s campaign theme is “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, Armenia’s Vice President of the National Assembly, Arpine Hovhannisyan, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender, Arman Tatoyan, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, Bradley Busetto, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Natalia Voutova, and the Ambassadors of France, Germany, United Kingdom and United States of America in Armenia took the floor to reconfirm their commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls and promoting women’s empowerment in Armenia.

ARS_9288Violence against women and girls remains one of the most serious human rights violations in the world. Almost one third of women in relationships report that they have experienced some form of violence, mostly from an intimate partner. According to the official data of the Armenia’s Investigative Committee, 215 criminal cases on domestic violence were investigated in the first half of 2017 in Armenia. Almost one third of criminal cases refer to violence used by men against their partners. The European Union and its member states place women’s human rights and gender equality at the core of all its external policies. The EU makes every possible effort to strengthen the voice of women, empower, and to assert their political, social, and economic rights women and girls. The 2016-2020 EU Gender Action Plan serves as the main guiding framework for EU actions and cooperation with partner countries, international and civil society organisations, and the private sector.

ARS_9384Ambassador Świtalski praised the work done by the Armenian government and civil society on this issue: ‘Last Friday we had a big event, as the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit was held in Brussels, Belgium. The leaders of EaP reaffirmed their commitment to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. What happened last Friday with the new EU-Armenia Agreement was also very important. Let me make very simple observations: firstly, from our perspective, the dignity of women is never relative, never conditional; secondly, human rights are indivisible, they should be applied equally; finally, let me make it very clear that the EU does not impose any values on our partners. We have never tried and there are no mechanisms to do it. Armenia is in a good situation, as we have declared that we share the values; therefore, there is nothing to impose as we are on the same page. We will continue our work on the basis of this new agreement and make these values strong and functioning for the benefit of ordinary citizens of Armenia, in particular for women’.

ARS_9372NA Vice President Hovhannisyan presented the situation in Armenia from a legislative perspective: ‘Any violence is chargeable, including violence against women and girls. Violence has a negative effect not only on an individual’s psychological, sexual or physical health, but also an institutional impact: it directly and/or indirectly affects the sustainable development of states. The high numbers in our country of GBV are worrying. The draft law on “Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence” is currently on the agenda of the National Assembly (NA). This week it’s on the agenda of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs and Protection of Human Rights,and where it will be discussed. Serious work has been done to address ongoing concerns. After the committee’s discussion, the draft law will be included in the agenda of the NA plenary session and will again be discussed. At present, the draft law is in line with international standards’.

On 2 February, Christian Danielsson, the European Union’s Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, was in Armenia as a part of his official visit to the South Caucasus.
The working visit started in Ijevan, Tavush region. Director General Christian Danielsson and Arpine Hovhannisyan, the Armenian Minister of Justice, participated in the official plaque unveiling ceremony of the newly-constructed building of the Court of First Instance in the city of Ijevan. The construction of the court’s building was financed by the European Union and was opened in 2012.

ARS_5542After the plaque unveiling ceremony, Danielsson spoke about EU-Armenia cooperation and reforms: ‘I am in Armenia for the first time and it’s very important that the first thing that I have done here is take part in this celebration. The rule of law is a pillar of any society. An independent, impartial and efficient judiciary is a key for solving national problems and for ensuring rights and opportunities for citizens.The EU strongly supports Armenian government reforms to the judiciary. We have invested 23 billion drams in these reforms and we will continue our support. What we are seeing today is concrete action and a symbol of that cooperation. It’s not only about the building but also the justice system. This whole project and reforms are also essential elements in fighting corruption. This is not only a local event, it’s a part of a large-scale reform package’.

Minister Hovhannsiyan thanked the EU for its continuing support: ‘This event is another opportunity to express our gratitude. European Union’s support to Armenia’s justice system is hugeand it covers the penitentiary system, judicial system and many other areas. We have seen many positive results and are making progress. Have we achieved everything we want? Of course we haven’t but we clearly understand where we need to go’.

Later on, the delegation participated in the launch of the unified office for the joint provision of state services in Ijevan. This office will allow citizens to apply for and receive references concerning the state registration of the real estate rights, registration of legal entities, references concerning the lack of criminal record, registration of civil acts and references concerning the rights over movables.
The same day, after the official meetings, Danielsson visited Sevanavank and then Matenadaran. The Director General held a public lecture and discussion with Armenian youth in Matenadaran on the EU-Armenia relations.
On 03 February, Christian Danielsson, accompanied by Luc Devigne, Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation, and OSCE (EEAS) met with President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, representatives of civil society to discuss common priorities for further EU-Armenia cooperation.

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January, the first month of 2017 was an Innovative month. The Armenian second “Public Sector Innovation Week” series of events took place from 19-27 January. The week of events was organised as part of the EU-funded “Innovation for Development” project, which is being implemented by UNDP/Kolba Innovations Lab.
The first event of “Public Sector Innovation Week” was devoted to a 4-day workshop about the design and development of future “Open Governance” facility in Armenia. How do new technologies affect public administration? How do public sector representatives respond to these changes? These questions were discussed on 23 January during a non-formal PechaKucha meeting.
On 27 January, the week concluded with a “Public Innovation” award ceremony. In 2016, Kolba Innovations Lab, with the support of the Armenian government, released a call for civil servants to come up with innovative ideas for the public sector.  State employees of the Ministry of Justice and the Administration of Prime Minister submitted 23 applications to resolve small-scale issues through innovative means.
Piotr Świtalski, the EU Ambassador in Armenia, Bradley Busetto, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, Vache Gabrielyan, the Armenian Deputy Prime Minister, and Arpine Hovhannisyan, the Armenian Minister of Justice, attended the awards ceremony.

ARS_4815Ambassador Świtalski highlighted the importance of innovation in the public sector: ‘Let me make a clear distinction: when we say innovation, we don’t mean invention. There is a big difference between invention and innovation. Making inventions is not so difficult, but innovation is very challenging because you need a system – a proper, modern governance to bring all of the ideas to life. The EU is happy that we can support projects like this. We want to be associated with creativity and innovation. When we hear from the new government that the future of the country should be based on a vision of an intellectual Armenia, it looks like a perfect match. The project seemed risky at first but we are thrilled at the number of applicants and the positive feedback. I hope that it will leave a mark’.
Minister Hovhannisyan mentioned that these types of project motivate young people to implement their innovative ideas: ‘I am happy to be here not because it’s a joint programme but because of the project theme. I am also happy that the Ministry of Justice has assumed the role of leader in the implementation of innovation programmes, such as the recently launched www.e-draft.am which publishes drafts of legal acts, and unified offices for the joint provision of state services, etc. We must think without hesitation and move forward fast’.
The six best and most innovative ideas were awarded prizes and certificates. UNDP/Kolba Innovations Lab, with the help of the EU, will support incubation projects in idea incubation and implementation phases. Encouraging awards were also given out during the ceremony.

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