Minorities Demand Seats in Parliament

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Representatives of national minorities in Armenia have called on the Armenian authorities again to secure at least one seat in the country’s parliament for their joint candidate.

Leaders of national minority organizations–including Yezids–Kurds–Greeks–Assyrians–Georgians–Russia’s–Ukrainians and Jews met on May 31 at the second conference of a council that is trying to coordinate the activity of minority organizations.

The conference was attended by advisor to President Robert Kocharian on economic issues Vahram Necissiantz and an advisor on national minorities issues Razmik Davoyan.

Davoyan admitted that the major problems of national minorities in Armenia were creation of the joint cultural center and having a seat in the parliament. He said that the 10 million drams–earmarked annually for these organizations–will be distributed among them.

National minority representatives adopted a declaration during their conference whereby they call on the government to set up a government-affiliated body that will deal with seeking practical solutions to their most urgent problems.

The leadership of the Coordinating Council of the National-Cultural Public Organizations of Armenian National Minorities of Armenia–which was held on May 30–had purpose to sum up the results of the activities of the council and to specify a number of priority tasks.

Participants of the plenary session mentioned the necessity of the speedy resolution of some problems. They stressed the importance of establishing a structure in the staff of the Armenian President–which will be engaged in the resolution of the practical problems of the national minorities–as well as in the issue of council’s getting a legal status.

The Coordinating Council repeatedly discussed the draft law "On National Minorities" worked out by the Department on the Issues of Refugees and Migration attached to the Armenian government. Razmik Davoyan–the Chairman of the Council–the Adviser of the Armenian President–mentioned that the Constitution and laws of the country equally influence the national minorities of Armenia–and if there is the necessity of an additional law for them–it should include points regarding only ethnic peculiarity.

Participants of the plenary session also considered that it is very important that one member of parliament should represent the national minorities. The establishment of a cultural center was also considered as primary issue.

According to some representatives of the national minorities–the manifestation of nationalism was observed in Armenia lately. Gersh Burshtein–the head of the Jewish religious community–mentioned that there were sounded anti-Semitic statemen’s in books published in Armenia lately. The representative of the Russian Community mentioned the relation to the Russian language as one of the main reasons of the departure of Russia’s from Armenia–and he raised the issue of recognizing the Russian language as the second governmental language in the republic.

Razmik Davoyan stressed after the sitting that the Armenian people and the authorities never admitted the manifestations of discrimination in the relation to other nationalities.

He considers the demand on the recognition of Russian as the second governmental language as groundless in the country–(as 98 percent of the population of the country are Armenia’s.

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