YEREVAN (Armenpress) — 21 Armenian NGOs have issued a statement over the discussion of the draft resolutions “Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan” by R.Walter and “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water” by M. Marković, which are scheduled for the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) 2016 Winter Session (January 25-29).
According to the administration of “European Integration” NGO, the statement reads:
“Armenian civil society organizations in regard to the aforementioned draft resolutions:
Express confidence that during the whole period of preparing the draft resolutions and of the discussions (starting from defining the topics and the preparation of the reports, to the discussions in the committees and the approval of the drafts) numerous violations of the mission, goals, declared principles and procedures of the Council of Europe, particularly of the PACE, have occurred. The fact that the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (regardless of political recognition) or the representatives of its civil society were not present at the discussions concerning their fate and everyday life, violates the rights of Artsakh citizens and the whole population; something that does not comply with the Council of Europe (in particular, PACE) mission.
State that PACE has never had and does not have a mission in conflict settlement, in finding political solutions and in mediation activities. Hence, it does not have any such experience either. Therefore, the fact that the draft resolution ‘Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan’ contains provisions related to Karabakh conflict settlement (provisions that are one-sided and are distorting the reality), we consider it a discriminatory attitude towards the sides of Karabakh conflict, which in no way can have a constructive role or effect in the process of conflict settlement.
Express confidence that PACE partners are surely aware that there is an international body – OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the mediators of negotiation process, who are given the mandate to deal with the settlement of Karabakh conflict. The fact that the reports, which served as the basis for the draft resolutions were written without any consultations with the OSCE MG Co-Chairs and without taking into consideration their approaches, directly proves that the real purpose of the rapporteurs and the reports has nothing to do with supporting the process of conflicts’ settlement.
Believe that the Council of Europe and the PACE, within their mission, can have their positive contribution in the process of peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict. For example, it can play a positive role in ensuring dialogue among the sides of conflict on confidence-building measures – both now and in post-conflict period (engaging the civil society institutions of Artsakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan in this process).
Given the recent escalation of tension by the Azerbaijani side on Armenia-Azerbaijan and Karabakh-Azerbaijan borders, human casualties, also among civilians, and the use of heavy weaponry along the contact line, Azerbaijan’s war rhetoric, hardened and destructive behavior in the negotiation process, express confidence that in case these draft resolutions are adopted, it will become an encouraging factor for Azerbaijan’s such stance, as a result jeopardizing new human lives.
Based on the aforementioned, the civil society organizations that have signed the Announcement
Call on PACE delegates:
-To vote “AGAINST” these draft resolutions, taking into account that otherwise they will take responsibility for the hardening of Azerbaijan’s rhetoric and the increase of border tension, including for human deaths; irrespective of the discussions on these draft resolutions and the results of the voting, to initiate a process of PACE reforms, which in the future will refrain the organization from serving as a tool for some countries’ political ambitions and will not let it come out from the frames of its mission.
-Call on the authorities and political parties of the Republic of Armenia: to continue being an active initiator in steps and activities towards European integration; to take steps to improve the efficiency of the institutions of parliamentary diplomacy in the Republic of Armenia; and to continue and develop the active engagement in the Council of Europe (particularly PACE) agenda, including initiating PACE reform process with partners.”