From November 15 -18, 2010, Human Rights Defender of Armenia Armen Harutyunyan was in Brussels meeting with members of the European Union and speaking with the European Parliament. The trip was organized as part of a series of events organized by AGBU Europe in the context of its work with the European institutions. AGBU Europe’s representation in Brussels carries out advocacy work with EU institutions on issues related to culture, education, and intercultural dialogue, on the EU’s relationship with the Republics of Armenia and Karabakh, and Turkey’s negotiations to join the European Union.
During his visit, Harutyunyan met with Milan Cabrnoch, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; Heidi Hautala, Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights; Peter Semneby, European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus; and Gunnar Wiegand, responsible for Eastern Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia of the European Commission. A number of meetings were held to discuss pressing matters facing the European nations and the rest of the world. Addressing members of Parliament, Harutyunyan explained that despite efforts to reform, Armenia, like other post-Soviet states, was still far from being the democratic nation it aspires to be; he emphasized that as long as its system remains oligarchic and its economic and political powers intermingled, democracy cannot prevail. In order to reinforce the country’s economic development, the Human Rights Defender recommended institutional reforms, which are indispensible to manage the transition from oligarchy to capitalism, for securing the respect for human rights and to invigorate civil society. Harutyunyan also spoke at a round-table of experts convened jointly by AGBU Europe and European Friends of Armenia, and held a debate with the Armenian community in Brussels.
A series of seminars, round-tables, and meetings continue to be organized regularly in order to initiate and nurture strategic thinking within 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.
original text via en.agbueurope.org