Independent Public Reunion: "Anti-Crisis Civic Discussion"
On December 18, an independent public gathering entitled "Anti-Crisis Civil Discussion" was held in Yerevan, attended by individual citizens, representatives of non-governmental organizations, experts in the political, diplomatic, military and scientific spheres. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the critical situation in Armenia in the post-war situation, to clarify the directions of urgent measures and to put together practical proposals.
The participants emphasized that since the end of the war Armenia has found itself in a multi-layered crisis, which is characterized on the one hand by:
- the large-scale humanitarian problems caused by the war,
- the uncertainty of the fate of our missing and captured compatriots,
- the unprecedented hasty and careless process of demarcation of the borders of Armenia and Artsakh,
- the insufficient level of Armenia's foreign policy, state, parliamentary and public diplomacy,
- weakening of Armenia's position in the relations of the countries of the region,
- the difficult economic and health situation in the country caused by the coronavirus pandemic and amplified by the war;
and on the other hand:
- The passive stance of the leadership of the Republic of Armenia - the lack of political will to resolve the issues of security, to ensure sovereignty and effective statehood, to implement democratic, especially judicial reforms, and to involve qualified specialists enjoying public trust in those overcoming those problems the country is facing.
- calls for violence by the "17 parties", spreading hate speech, combined with street ultimatums on behalf of the whole nation,
- as a result, the deepening polarization of the society, the targeting of the civil society by one side, and its alienation by the other side.
The participants of the discussion stated that the results of the war had hit the identity and security of the people of Armenia and Artsakh, and the state sovereignty and democracy of the Republic of Armenia. The post-war situation threatens the right of the people of Artsakh to live a dignified life in their historical homeland, their right for self-determination and security guarantees, creating new challenges for the process of international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh.
The behavior of the main responsible state structures of the Republic of Armenia during the war and in the post-war situation provoked a fair public outcry, creating an organizational and information vacuum, in which a number of state functions, including the logistical coordination and the organization of humanitarian assistance were and still are partially implemented through civic initiatives. The governing force acting on behalf of the people since 2018 today operates in the absence of direct communication with and accountability to the citizens.
The incomprehensible status of Armenia's representation in the ongoing negotiations, the uncertainty created around the country's borders, the hasty unilateral implementation of the demarcation without guaranteeing the security of citizens, including the inhabitants of Artsakh and the border areas of Armenia, servicemen and volunteers, show that the government lacks sufficient professional resources and ability to perform key anti-crisis, security and defense functions, as well as willingness to engage and collaborate with experts and members of the professional community.
The involvement of new forces in the Government of the Republic of Armenia has become imperative to guarantee the continuity of the sovereignty of the country and the dignified life of its citizens. At the same time, it should be emphasized that any process aimed at the resignation of the government, which must be immediately followed by snap parliamentary elections, must take place in compliance with the rule of law, within the framework of the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Armenia.
In order to have a healthy public dialogue, it is necessary to set up an independent professional committee to investigate the reasons for non-prevention of the war, its catastrophic consequences and factual circumstances, which will allow clearing the scene from endless mutual accusations, calming the atmosphere of hatred and prosecuting the perpetrators.
The participants of the meeting also stated that the current internal political tension is not only the result of the post-war crisis, but also the failure of the current ruling force to implement the public order for democratic reforms of the 2018 Velvet Revolution and the failure of strategic communication. In this regard, in order to resolve the crisis and stabilize the situation, first of all, it is necessary to give an impartial assessment of the path taken by all the political forces responsible for the defeat in the Second Artsakh War, including:
- the destructive impact of decades of economic looting and corrupt system by the previous authorities,
- failure of implementation of priority reforms by the current ruling party: transitional justice, constitutional reform, adoption of new electoral code, law on parties, reform of the judiciary, increase of resistance of the defense system, lack of new approaches in diplomacy, economic revolution.
The following are essential for the implementation of anti-crisis measures:
- adoption of the principles of non-violence, protection of human rights and dignity;
- open, honest and comprehensive dialogue as a way of finding solutions,
- adoption of the agenda of public solidarity as a public demand and an opportunity to mobilize and consolidate the potential of the society.
Based on the assessments and suggestions made during the meeting, the initiating group will hold new meetings in the near future, will expand the circle of discussions and supporters, and will take practical steps.
We are full of hope that in this way we will be able to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and tolerance in the society, where the citizens will have a guaranteed opportunity to consistently promote and oversee the implementation of their order to have a democratic state governed in line with the rule of law. We are convinced that we cannot achieve the development of external peace, without internal reconciliation, real democracy and dialogue.
The sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia has no alternative.
Arman Navasardyan, Diplomat, lecturer, Slavonic University of Armenia
Rafik Hakobyan, Dean of the Faculty of Physics, YSU
Gayane Shagoyan, Institute of Archeology և Ethnography, NAS of RA
Sossi Tatikyan, public, foreign and security policy and management specialist
Tamara Gevorgyan, “Perspective Development Center”
Seda Muradyan, “Public Journalism Club” NGO
Liana Torosyan, “Democracy Today” NGO
Nina Karapetyants, “The Helsinki Association” human rights NGO
Zhanna Aleksanyan, “Journalists for Human Rights” NGO
Aleksandr Martirosyan, “Public Journalism Club” NGO
Aramayis Avetisyan, “Political Dialogue” NGO
Gohar Shahnazaryan, “Women's Resource Center” NGO
Arman Gharibyan, “Human Rights Power” NGO
Mamikon Hovsepyan, “PINK Armenia” human rights NGO
Arpi Manusyan, “Socioscope” NGO
Daniel Ioannisyan, “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO
Artashes Sergoyan, “Union of Informed Citizens” NGO
Anahit Simonyan, Human Rights Research Center
Davit Petrosyan, “Restart” civic initiative
Yuri Avagyan, “Restart” civic initiative
Karen Hakobyan, “Hope” NGO
Nouneh Sarkissian, Media Initiatives Center
Hovsep Khurshudyan, Free Citizen Civic Initiatives Support Center
Sona Ayvazyan, Transparency International Armenia
Seda Grigoryan, Citizen of the RA
Lusine Kharatyan, Citizen of the RA