“Concerns about the Closure of the NA Standing Committee on Human Rights”
A discussion entitled “Concerns about the Closure of the NA Standing Committee on Human Rights” was held on May 17.

The speakers were Edmon Marukyan, Member of Parliament, and Arthur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office.

For a long time the media rumors that the authorities of the 6th convocation of the National Assembly intend to dissolve a number of NA standing committees, including the Standing Committees on Human Rights Protection and Public Affairs and European Integration.

According to the not officially confirmed sources, it was decided to unite the Standing Committee on European Integration with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to unite the Standing Committees on Human Rights Protection and Public Affairs with the Committee on State and Legal Affairs.

Edmon Marukyan, MP of “Yelq” Alliance, says that these changes are made in order “Yelq” Alliance does not receive chairmanship of any standing committee.

“We also have the information that the number of standing committees is reduced to 9. The meaning of the reduction is that there is no 10th committee as in that case the chairmanship of that committee would get “Yelq” Alliance based on “Donte’s Resolution”. That is why the number of the standing committees is reduced in order “Yelq” Alliance has no levers at least on the level of committees and does not use the committee in the context of the implementation of its programs and the oversight function of the National Assembly,” Marukyan said.  

The MP added that it is strange for them that the Standing Committees on Human Rights Protection and Public Affairs is united with the Committee on State and Legal Affairs. “That committee is united with the most overloaded committee the member of which I am and I know that this commission does not even manage to discuss its own legislative packages.”

Arthur Sakunts says that this step is a clear message to the international community that they do not consider the European integration a priority. “If the political majority and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation have such an intention, it is a message to the international community that we do not consider the European direction, particularly EU-Armenia agreement, to be a priority.”

“Second, the second Action Plan of human rights strategy was introduced to the Government. European Integration and human rights are two important directions from which the state has financial expectations from the international institutions. With such high extent of imitation I do not think that the authorities can have expectations to obtain financial flows in the absence of the corresponding political positions. We also informed the European institutions about our concerns. No government is likely to be trusted and receive financial assistance for the institutional development if it tries to dissolve the committees on European integration and human rights,” Sakunts said.   

Marukyan believes that the government can not justify the dissolution of the Committee on Human Rights by the optimization process, as when the National Assembly passes to the complete parliamentary governance  they need not to optimize but expand the NA structures.

“I think that the country should optimize outside the parliament, not inside. The Committees do not have the cost burden on the NA. It's absurd that the Parliament Guardsman also has a driver. Why shouldn’t the committee chairman whose position is equal to Minister, have a car? But we have never disputed the matter as an opposition. Moreover, if the argument is reached, I think not the National Assembly but the government should be optimized,” MP said.

To watch the video, follow the link.  

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