Strasbourg, 30 October 2013- Edward Nalbandian, Foreign Minister of Armenia, today presented a communication from the Committee of Ministers which he chairs, to the Parliamentary Assembly and answered questions from delegates. In his presentation Mr Nalbandian highlighted some important developments since his country took over the Committee’s chairmanship on 16 May.
Minister Nalbandian reaffirmed that the Committee of Ministers will continue to do its utmost to ensure that the rights enshrined in the Human Rights Convention are respected and protected across Europe. In this context he referred to the recent adoption of protocols 15 and 16 to the Convention. Protocol 16 that will be opened for signature in Strasbourg on 2 October, during the on-going PACE session, provides for the establishment of a platform for judicial dialogue between the ECHR and national superior courts, with the aim of contributing to solve complex problems at national level.
Minister Nalbandian also referred to combating racism xenophobia and intolerance, and promoting European values through intercultural dialogue, which constitutes the overarching theme of his country’s chairmanship. He recalled the Council of Europe’s “2013 Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue” which Armenia hosted on 2-3 September, and also pointed out to the High Level Conference on combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance in Europe that will take place in Yerevan on 21-22 October. Mr Nalbandian told the Assembly that the Armenian Chairmanship is supporting the No Hate speech Movement launched by the Secretary General. He in particular stressed that “freedom of expression cannot be brought up as the justification for the dissemination of hate speech”.
The implementation of the Organisation’s policy towards neighbouring regions is another point which the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers took up in his speech. In this context Mr Nalbandian mentioned the decision to establish Council of Europe offices in Rabat and Tunis. Minister Nalbandian informed the Assembly that discussions will soon be resumed among the Committee of Ministers on the possible creation of a formal status for interested countries in the neighbouring regions, to work out an institutional framework for co-operation.
Armenia will hand over the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to Austria on 14 November.
- Video of the speech