YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A workshop on "Human rights laws in the Transcaucasian countries: observation and harmonization" started September 14 in Tbilisi under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This is the first workshop attended by parliamentarians from the Transcaucasian countries. Participating in the workshop are also PACE Lord Russel-Johnston–PACE members and experts. The Armenian delegation includes Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Armen Khachatrian–Vice-Chairman Victor Dallakian–Committee member Frunze Khachatrian–and more.
In his opening speech–Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Zurab Zhvaniya pointed out the importance of regular contacts between parliamentarians of the three Transcaucasian countries and expressed optimism that meetings of the speakers of the Transcaucasian countries’ parliamen’s will become traditional–promote productive discussions of regional problems and issues related to economic cooperation. He expressed confidence that the settlement of the existing conflicts in the Transcaucasus will create favorable conditions for economic recovery and development in the region. He also stressed the importance of the three Transcaucasian countries’ membership in the Council of Europe.
In his speech–Russel Johnston pointed out the parliamentarians’ great responsibility in the settlement of conflicts in the Caucasus. He expressed the opinion that only a peaceful Caucasus may become a guarantee of economic growth.
Pointing out the importance of Armenia’s becoming a CE member–protection of human rights as well as the need for settling conflicts by means of dialogue and cooperation–Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee–Armenian National Assembly–Khachatrian regarded the workshop as a political dialogue at the regional level which will create the atmosphere of mutual confidence and stability. He expressed optimism that similar dialogues will become regular.
Serious discussions focused on the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights in national legislation. The principles were proposed by the CE experts at the first meeting.
The second meeting focused on the discussions of laws on human rights in Armenia–Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Member of the Armenian National Assembly Frunze Khachatrian reported that the Armenian National Assembly is currently developing a four-month program of legislative activities. The program will include some 200 laws and bills–most of them aimed at ensuring human rights and freedoms.
It is noteworthy that both the Armenian and Azerbaijanian parliamentarians pointed out the importance of restoring economic cooperation between our countries and expressed optimism that it will produce a considerable impact both on the economic recovery and on the conflict settlement.
On September 15 the workshop participants discussed issues related to the law-enforcement and judicial systems of the Transcaucasian countries–mechanisms of cooperation in the human rights sphere and the CE Parliamentary Assembly’s role in this matter.