YEREVAN — A group of about a dozen civil society organizations have issued an appealed to the Diaspora, urging them to take an active position in Armenia’s political life.
Following is the appeal/open letter:
With this open letter we, a group of civil society and human rights organizations from Armenia appeal to Diaspora Armenians – individuals, organizations and non-formal groups – to take an active stance in the political life of Armenia.
We have always felt the great love of Diaspora for our country and are indeed grateful for immense and tireless support that our compatriots abroad were rendering to the people of Armenia throughout many years. However, since Armenia’s independence in 1991, we have lived – and you have witnessed – the heart-breaking conditions of our country: poverty, depopulation, and the slow surrender of our national sovereignty. Continuously rigged elections and political corruption have concentrated almost all socio economic power in the hands of an unrepresentative oligarchic elite. Natural resources are depleted to serve short-term and small group interests; poverty and social injustice grow in parallel with the remarkably improving welfare of a number of decision-makers. Civic and political rights of citizens are systematically violated, peaceful assemblies against the injustice are brutally cracked down and the controlled judiciary fails to ensure fair judgments, increasing the number of political prisoners. After all, the 4-day war of April 2016 revealed how the uncontrolled and unpunished corruption exhausts the resources of the Armenian Army and threatens the security of Armenia.
Twenty-five years after the Independence, we can no longer consider these conditions to be the birth-pains of a new republic. Though it may not seem apparent upon first glance, the lack of democracy underpins nearly all other national issues. Indeed, democracy is at the heart of nation-building in the 21st century.
We, the undersigned, have worked and fought tirelessly for rule of law and democracy in Armenia. We have developed the infrastructure and activated our citizens in monitoring elections – the single most fundamental process of democracy. But our resources have been limited.
We are writing to tell you that we need you. Not your donations or remittances, but you – your spirit and physical presence in Armenia – here on the ground, at the voting precincts – engaging, observing, and taking ownership of your role in this historic quest for Armenian democracy.
The upcoming Parliamentary Elections are of paramount importance for the country. As a result of the Constitutional Referendum of 2015, which was itself marred by rampant corruption, Armenia now begins its transition to a parliamentary republic. This means there will be no further presidential elections, and the upcoming Parliamentary Elections will decide the future of Armenia.
We urge all the Diaspora organizations, institutions and active individuals to join us in our endeavors and render your support to promote justice, human rights, free and fair elections, accountable governance, civil rights and dignity. Get in touch with us, come to us and let’s walk this path together.
The future of Armenia is democratic, and that future begins today, with your participation and solidarity.
Find out how to join our election observation efforts by visiting www.citizenobserver.am or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage all Armenians of the Diaspora to join, regardless of age, citizenship, political affiliation, or fluency in Armenian.
Transparency International Anticorruption Center
Journalists Club “Asparez”
Europe in Law Association
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor
Goris Journalists Club
Centre for Community Mobilization and Support
National Young Women’s Christian Association of Armenia
Northern Branch of Eurasia Partnership Foundation
“Peace Dialogue” NGO
Women’s Resource Center
“Public Information and Need of Knowledge” NGO
Foundation against the Violation of Law
“Guarantee” Center of Civil Society
Lori Citizens’ Union