“It is obvious that our government is committed to democratic values” - PM meets with civil society representatives
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today met with civil society representatives from dozens of Armenian NGOs. The event was held on the sidelines of the Promoting and Protecting Human Rights program. UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia Shombi Sharp and Head of Cooperation Department of EU Delegation to Armenia Gonzalo Serrano delivered greeting remarks.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated:
“We have long been looking for a suitable format for interaction with civil society, because communication in state formats is not always effective, and I am glad that we are making such an attempt. I think that an important remark was made that sometimes we try to understand what democracy is. Sometimes we can say that democracy also has such a quality that those who used to make others silent, now have more opportunities to silence others.
This is perhaps the most important dilemma that exists in democracies, or at least in democracies like Armenia, which still need to clarify some basic concepts. In particular, sometimes it may be necessary to clarify what human rights mean; sometimes it may be necessary to clarify who can exercise this right and so on.
I think that one should not be surprised or upset at this. This means that democracies, including the Republic of Armenia, still have a long or, perhaps, not very long way to go before we can achieve a social consensus at least at the level of basic concepts. One thing is clear: our government is committed to democratic values.
I have repeatedly stated that I think democracy is endemic in our country, and not imported from abroad as I think that the activities of so many people and my own efforts have demonstrated that democracy is ultimately akin to us, but maybe we need to re-evaluate from time to time our practical formulations of democracy. I think that such meetings are a great opportunity to discuss these issues,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Prime Minister highlighted the role of civil society in developing and strengthening democracy in the country and went on to note that to this end the Executive has involved representatives of civil society in the fight against corruption and the implementation of judicial reforms.
Then the head of government answered a number of questions from meeting participants and listened to their comments and suggestions. In particular, issues related to the protection of human rights, increasing public control in this direction, the fight against corruption, reforms of the judicial system, the police and public administration, as well as cooperation with international partners were discussed.
The Prime Minister and civil society representatives exchanged views on the formats for organizing such meetings in the future. They stressed that it could facilitate interaction and effective implementation of reforms in various fields.