The Delegation of the European Union issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Members States Heads of Mission in Armenia.
The EU is committed to supporting reforms in Armenia, in particular in the area of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms and rule of law. Good governance and human rights protection are essential for the future of Armenia and increased public trust in the political and judiciary system.
The institution of Ombudsman is crucial for promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level and in advancing all aspects of the rule of law, including with respect to the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and the correctional system.
The high importance attached by the EU to the institution of the Ombudsman is confirmed also by the recently signed human rights budget support programme (2016–2018) for Armenia with value €12 million. This is designed to support Armenia in tackling key issues related to anti-discrimination, child rights, prevention of torture, fight against domestic violence and enhancing electoral legislation. The programme was designed to contribute also to the strengthening of the Ombudsman´s office capacity in monitoring human rights education and providing recommendations, addressing concerns of minorities, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups as well as cooperation with state institutions. The programme aims at enhancing coordination and cooperation among relevant stakeholders and its implementation will be monitored by a steering committee co-chaired by the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ombudsman, Head of EU Delegation, and with the inclusion of civil society representatives to ensure a structured dialogue.
We learned with regret that Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan has resigned and we commend him for his excellent work. It is of the utmost importance to ensure a proper selection of and to safeguard the full and unconditional independence of his successor. Therefore, the EU trusts that the next Armenian Ombudsman will be appointed by the National Assembly in a consensual manner and will be able to preserve the independence of this important institution. A more efficient follow-up by state bodies of the Ombudsman´s recommendations will certainly contribute to better human rights protection in Armenia.