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''Lynne Tracy replies to my urgent letter''. Tovmasyan

11:00, Saturday, 09 July, 2022
''Lynne Tracy replies to my urgent letter''. Tovmasyan

We expect political factions to work within the democratic processes available to them in parliament: U.S. Embassy Yerevan Ambassador to Armenia H.E. Lynne Tracy replies to my urgent letter․
     After putting into circulation the draft resolutions submitted by the ruling faction on recalling opposition MP Ishkhan SAGHATELYAN from Office of NA Vice President and Termination of Powers of RA NA opposition MP Vahe HAKOBYAN as Chair of Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, I urgently prepared and sent letters to the international organizations, Ambassadors accredited in Armenia.
     With the letters I drew my colleagues’ urgent attention to the draft resolutions submitted by the ruling faction and noted that as the justifications of the Draft Decisions make it clear, the ruling faction takes such initiatives because of the opposition MP’s boycott of parliamentary work (not participating in the voting, absences from the NA Council Sessions, absences from the Standing Committee sessions), opinions and statements made during the rallies.
     Referring to the boycott I stressed that according to the European Court’s position a boycott is a form of expressing a protesting opinion which is protected by Article 10 of the Convention and that especially the parliamentary boycott has been practiced in all democratic states.
     Referring to the opinions and calls by the opposition MPs during the rallies, they are also protected by the Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Freedom of Expression). And if the members of the ruling faction think that they contain violation of criminal law, then a criminal-legal assessment of their actions should be given. If not, then they are fully protected by internal and international norms on freedom of expression especially for MPs and therefore an MP should not be punished for the freedom of expression.
     On this matter I requested Madam Ambassador to come up with a public statement on such a behavior by the ruling party which is against democratic principles.
     In reply, Ambassador Tracy informs: “The United States is committed to partnering with Armenia to strengthen democratic institutions that reflect our common values. We expect political factions to work within the democratic processes available to them in parliament, as established under Armenian law.
     We defer to relevant Armenian bodies on the legality of the decisions taken in parliament on July 1 to remove opposition Members of Parliament from their positions. We also stress that a constructive opposition plays an important role in any democracy”.
     The Ambassador sums it up: “The United States is committed to supporting the Armenian people as they continue to pursue a democratic agenda. I appreciate your constructive efforts towards this end”.
     Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs Taguhi Tovmasyan

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