Today, on 12 March, the European Parliament has adopted the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the world 2013. Several clauses of this document are relevant to Armenia, especially the paragraph that “calls, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, on all the Member States to acknowledge it, and encourages the Member States and the EU institutions to contribute further to its recognition.
European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA) has warmly welcomed this European Parliament report. EuFoA Director, Mr Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa, comments: “After a long break, the European Parliament reasserts its position on the Armenian Genocide, and again reaffirms that genocides and their denials are a human rights matter. During this special year, we are thankful for this strong signal of European solidarity with the Armenian people.”
In addition, the text adopted by the EP puts a particular focus on the question of human rights in the relations with EU partners. Indeed, the very first paragraph of the report states that “the preamble to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms that the EU ‘places the individual and human dignity at the heart of its activities'”. The reports then adds that “the performance-driven ‘more for more’ approach should guide the EU’s relations with all third countries, that the EU should grant partner countries advanced status only if clear human rights and democracy requirements are met, and that it should not hesitate to freeze this status if those requirements are no longer fulfilled.”
“In practical terms it means that the European Parliament does not want the EU to compromise its stance on human rights, democracy and rule of law when dealing with third countries.” comments Mr Lorenzo Ochoa. “With these two paragraphs in mind, it becomes clear why the report insists on human rights clauses in EU international agreements, including trade agreements. This is also why the report, with its 215 paragraphs, is much longer than the previous yearly reports on that matter. We are very pleased that the EU reasserts its moral authority with this lengthy but clear report.”
The adopted text also recalls the situation of religious minorities, particularly in the Middle East, mentioning among others the Apostolic Armenians. In that particular paragraphs, the Parliament “calls for the EU and its Member States to ensure that religious minorities are respected worldwide, particularly in the Middle East, where Christians, including Catholics, Apostolic Armenians, Copts and Yezidis, and Muslim minorities are being persecuted by ISIS and other terrorist groups.”
The report was drafted by MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, Italy) and adopted at the committee level on 9 February and will be published by the European Parliament in the coming days.