“As far as alleged disproportionate violence against journalists is concerned, an alert has already been posted on our Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists: A reply from the authorities is awaited." The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić replies to my letters on police violence. Taguhi Tovmasyan, an MP of the opposition "With Honor" Faction in the National Assembly (NA) of Armenia and Chair of the NA Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs, wrote this on Facebook. Tovmasyan added as follows:
Regarding the cases on using disproportionate force by the police against citizens exercising their rights to peaceful assembly on April 29 and May 2, on the bodily injuries of people, also the cases on violence against journalists, I addressed the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić. In my letter I presented the situation in Armenia thoroughly, the evidently violent actions violating human rights. I requested my colleague to give relevant reaction to such cases as her public opinion may play a key role in the prevention of violence and protection of human rights.
The Secretary General, replying to my letter, writes that freedom of peaceful assembly is one of the foundations of a democratic, tolerant and pluralist society. It is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights including in cases concerning Armenia.
CoE Secretary General expects the police in their actions to adopt a human rights-based approach to policing assemblies and the use of force by law enforcement agencies should be lawful, necessary, proportionate and limited to cases where it is strictly unavoidable. Force should only be applied to the minimum extent necessary.
"Be assured that the Council of Europe and its relevant institutions will remain attentive to the situation and continue to work with the authorities in Armenia - as in other member states - to uphold these principles.
Marija Pejčinović Burić sums it up:
"As far as alleged disproportionate violence against journalists is concerned, an alert has already been posted on our Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. A reply from the authorities is awaited".
Surely I will continue with my efforts to share with the replies of other influential international organizations in the wake of achieving their consent for publicizing their opinions on such pressing issues.