The “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project has been launched. During the upcoming three years, the Armenian Young Lawyers Association NGO with its partner organization Freedom of Information Center, with the financial support of the European Union will work in several directions to enhance the role of the civil society organizations in promotion of anti-corruption reforms.
The first awareness seminar on the project was organized in Ararat City. Representatives of NGOs and media organizations from Ararat and Armavir marzes of the RA and the mayors of Ararat and Vedi cities attended the seminar. They greeted the participants and attached importance of the launch of such project.
“In order to effectively fight against corruption, we do need a strong role for civil society. That means for you all in the room,” Dr. Dirk Lorenz, Counselor, Head of Political, Economic, Press and Information Section of Delegation of the European Union to Armenia said.
It is planned to organize anti-corruption training for the CSOs and media organizations with the purpose to enable them to gain a better understanding of anti-corruption and freedom of information issues and to strengthen their ability to engage in anti-corruption activities. Further the CSOs and media organizations that have completed the training will have the opportunity to participate in tenders for small grants to undertake monitoring, watchdog activities and journalistic investigations; create the CSOs anti-corruption coalition aimed to establish a dialogue with the government on the establishment of the independent anti-corruption body and on criminalization of the illicit enrichment.
“Currently corruption is really a major problem in Armenia and fight against the corruption is not only the main objective of the government, the international organizations but also the objective of our civil society. And only the joint efforts of all us may provide opportunity to curb this evil,” Mr. Karen Zadoyan, President of the Armenian Young Lawyers Association, “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project Manger said.
The illicit enrichment is not criminalized in Armenia yet. This is one of the main reasons of the complaints of NGOs. It is time to think about it.
“Well I cannot speak for Armenian Government of course. It’s the Government who has to decide when it’s time. But the experience of the civilized and developed countries says that the time is now, because definitely the government employees, the people who are working for the people, either elected or appointed, must be accountable. So they have to be accountable for their properties, for their actions,” Mr. Petr Mikyska, Chargé d´affaires of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Yerevan said in the interview to Iravaban.net.
Mr. Erikas Petrikas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania in Armenia tells about the anti-corruption experience of Lithuania. They started from the annual declarations of income and property of the President of the country, the Prime-Minister and the ministers. Currently all civil servants in the country provide annual declaration on property.
“I am very pleased to participate in such kind of seminar where we can exchange our experience, where can share information. And I do believe that this project launched by European Union support will be a success for this region,” Mr. Erikas Petrikas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania in Armenia noted.
Representative of Freedom of Information Center Mr. Gevorg Hayrapetyan, Coordinator of Government – CSO Dialogue of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project said that during the anti-corruption trainings they would provide training about the freedom of information and the ways of its implementation.
Ms Martina Quick, Chargé d´affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden has arrived in Armenia two weeks ago and she knows too little about the situation in Armenia, but she believes that it is important to combat the corruption with all means available.
“I also want to add that for every society this is something that one will always have to fight, because you will not reach a degree when the problem is gone. It’s something that every society will have to combat every day. It’s an ongoing struggle,” Ms Martina Quick thinks.
The NGOs working in the marzes are excited for the project as well, because they will have opportunity to provide their active support in struggle against corruption.
The project will last till the end of December 2016. The project budget is 650.000 EUR.