Launched in November 2003 the "Partnership for Open
Society"
initiative is an open coalition of a number of
interested civil society actors in Armenia. The
Partnership strives towards promotion of democratic
reform process in Armenia.

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Polling

Which is the most corrupt sphere in Armenia?
Healthcare
4
 
13.79%
Education
5
 
17.24%
Jurisdiction
8
 
27.59%
Agriculture
0
 
0%
Social
2
 
6.9%
Environmental
0
 
0%
Other
2
 
6.9%
Total: 29




 
NEWS & EVENTS
Archive

News Archive 2007, 2008   |   News Archive 2006   |   News Archive 2005   |   News Archive 2004

NEWS ARCHIVE 2007

Effective Policy Writing Course for NGOs
Policy documents comprise a big part of our work, but are the policy papers we produce as effective as we would like them to be?  Structure of such documents is often neglected, sometimes we do not think about the different approaches that need to be taken depending on the addressee(s) of the document.  Often we try to write it all in one paper, making the paper less effective than it could have otherwise been.  To increase the effectiveness of policy work of human rights NGOs, the Open Society Institute Armenia Foundation in the framework of the project financed by the Government of the Netherlands organized a training session on Writing Effective Policy Papers to Influence Decision-Making held in Aghveran from January 24-27, 2007. The training was led by experienced trainers Ashot Khurshudyan, Head of Training and Education Unit at the International Center for Human Development (ICHD) in Yerevan and Elena Klitsounova, Program Director at the Center for International and Regional Policy (CIRP), Russia.  Many years of policy training and actual policy work of the training translated into a very interactive training, which the participants found very useful for their daily work.

Most of the participants had experience in policy paper writing, and the training gave them an opportunity to reflect on their own experience and compare the ideas they had about policy paper writing with those presented to them.  

Narine Movsisyan, Project Manager,at the AUA Center for Health Services Research and Development said, “I am very satisfied with the training; it was well organized and relevant to my needs. Though I had already some experience with writing policy briefs to Armenian policy makers, this training provided important insights for better understanding of the issue.”  

The participants now recognize the difference between a policy study and a policy brief, and the importance of the structure, i.e. presentation of the content.  

“I learnt that what may have seemed to be a small detail in the past play a big role when one writes an analytical brief,” said Veronica from European Integration NGO. “I used to focus too much on the content and not pay enough attention to the structure of the document.  Now I recognize that no matter how important the content is, if not properly structured, it will not be as effective as I intend it to be. I will try to put what I learnt into practice, and I hope it will work out.”  

Marianna Chalikyan, the PR Manager of Unison NGO, focusing on the rights of the disabled, found the information she received during the training on writing policy studies and briefs very useful.  “The interactive nature of the training, the selection of case studies and the games, the exchange of information made this complex issue much easier to grasp,” she added.

The participants considered that the training was very successful in communicating the basics of writing an effective policy paper that would influence decision making, however, they felt that there was much more to be learnt.  They were mainly interested in having a session of guided policy paper writing with the help of an experienced trainer. The Office is now in contact with the trainers to discuss that possibility.


Presentation of publication "Political Parties - Viewpoints and Approaches" May 3, 2007
The Partnership organized a presentation of  publication "Political Parties - Viewpoints and Approaches" on May 3  in the Ball Room of Congress hotel.  This effort initiated by the Partnership was an attempt to identify the most problematic issues in our country and clarify our political elite's stance on specific issues in almost all areas of public life.  We tried to do it with the help of a questionnaire, put together by experts representing different areas, who also identified the parties for interviews.


Sending the Criminal Case Back for Additional Investigation, March 2, 2007
The Partnership for Open Society Initiative organized a discussion on the topic "Sending the Criminal Case Back for Additional Investigation".


Discussion on the Law on Relations of Armenian Apostolic Church and Republic of Armenia, March 16, 2007
The Partnership for Open Society Initiative organized a discussion on the Law on "Relations of Armenian Apostolic Church and Republic of Armenia".  Presentations were made by Avetik Ishkhanyan, President of Helsinki Committee of Armenia and Stepan Danielyan, Chairman of Collaboration for Democracy.


Civil Society Assessment of Situation in Armenia, February 21, 2007
The Partnership for Open Society Initiative organized a discussion on "Civil Society Assessment of the Situation in Armenia".

The Partnership for Open Society Initiative presented its own analysis of the situation in the country, especially in view of the PACE resolution and the recently issued reports on Armenia by the Human Rights Watch and the Freedom House.  The discussion was mainly focused on human rights, corruption, freedom of speech and media, and democratic institutions in Armenia.   Presentations were made by David Sandukhchyan, Head of Legal Department of Internews, Mesrop Harutyunyan, YPC expert, Amalya Kostanyan, President of Armenian Branch of Transparency International and Avetik Ishkhanyan, President of Helsinki Committee of Armenia.

Download:
PACE Resolution 
Download: Human Rights Watch Report - Armenia
Download: Freedom House Report - Armenia

NEWS ARCHIVE 2008

Civil Society Assessment of ENP 2008 Implementation
The “Partnership for Open Society” Initiative, representing more than sixty civil society organizations, carried out a presentation of “Armenia’s ENP Implementation in 2008: Partnership for Open Society Perspective” assessment report, which  took place on December 18, 2008.
 
The Partnership has reflected on each step of the ENP Action Plan development, reinforcing its initial position that the ENP process must be inclusive and open to all stakeholders, and must be transparent. Thus, the Implementation Tools for 2007, prepared by the Armenian government and made public in September of 2007, were analyzed in comparison with the Action Plan and concrete recommendations were made on making the process of planning and implementation efficient, thorough and accountable to the stakeholders. During the first year implementation of the ENP Action Plan the civil society monitored and analyzed the Action Plan implementation in certain priority areas and suggested specific recommendations prior to the publication of the ENP progress report by the European Commission.
 
In this report, the experts reviewed the country progress in implementation of actions in the same priority areas in 2008.
 
RA ministers and other government officials, Ambassadors of EU countries to Armenia, representatives of international organizations, civil society and media have been invited to attend the event. We hope that such discussions will promote transparency and accountability in ENP implementation in Armenia.


Press Conference on Elections 2008
On February 29 the following civil society actors The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Branch, “Asparez” Journalists’ Club, “Internews-Armenia” Media Support NGO, Media Diversity Institute, Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia, Transparency International Anti-corruption Center and the Yerevan Press Club  initiated a joint  press conference in the Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan. During the press conference the key-note speakers Amalia Kostanyan, Chairwoman of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman of Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Boris Navasardyan, President of the Yerevan Press Club and Levon Barseghyan, President of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club represented the monitoring results and the  joint statement on the pre-election campaign, the election campaign and post-election processes. Avetik Ishkshanyan, chairman of Helsinki Committee of Armenia, told that their organization has implemented observation activities in 33 polling station. During which he talked with all the presidential candidates’ representatives, especially with representatives of the opposition, and found out that all in all the election process has been passing in accordance with the procedures stipulated by law. During the votes counting processes also no serious violations have been recorded. Though, the observed violations, which were common nearly for all the poliing stations, had the form of bribing, bringing people by busses and open voting.

Avetik Ishkhanyan also mentioned that the stereotype he had of bribes taking citizens has changed during these elections, as he said ” before that I thought that the bribes are taken only by poor and illiterate citizens, though that day I understood the bribes are taken by all of us, I saw each of us in those crowds” completed his speech Avetik Ishkhanyan.  Amalia Kostanyan, the chairwoman of Transparency International Anti-corruption said that since January 7 2008, Transparency International Anti-corruption Center has been implementing monitoring of campaign finance in the cities of Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor for the 2008 Presidential Elections in Armenia. The project was aimed at studying and analyzing pre and post-election developments, revealing deficiencies in the electoral legislation, detection and recording of possible violations and misuses, as well as proposing recommendations to ensure legitimate and democratic elections. The monitoring project, funded by OSI Assistance Foundation Armenia, also involves Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office and “Asparez” Journalists’ Club in Gyumri. According to the preliminary findings of the monitoring project, two presidential candidates - Serzh Sargsyan and Vahan Hovhannisyan - exceeded the 70 million AMD limitation for the pre-election campaign fund provided by Article 79.4 of the Armenian Electoral Code. The mentioned candidates spent on campaign materials and events, respectively, 92.7 million and 86.5 million AMD. Artur Baghdasaryan spent 46.6 million, Levon Ter-Petrosyan - 38.6 million, Artashes Geghamyan - 16.2 million, Tigran Karapetyan - 15.2 million, Vazgen Manukyan - 5.8 million, Arman Melikyan - 0.7 million, and Aram Harutyunyan - 0.5 million. Amalia Kostanyan mentioned that through the course of monitoring, expenditure of presidential candidates’ campaign materials (such as billboards, posters of various types and sizes, booklets, pens, flags, etc.), as well as rent of equipment used during events were calculated. Meanwhile, Ms. Kostanyan added that it should be mentioned that the interim declarations on pre-election funds of the candidates were posted on CEC website with 8-day delay of the due time for unknown reasons and the income and expenditure data were not updated after February 13, 2008. The final results of the monitoring will be summarized in a published report after having studied the final declarations announced Ms. Kostanyan in the end. ( for the full report of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center click here - Download)

Amalia Kostanyan also read some parts from the report of Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Branch (for the full version of the report of Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Branch please click here- Download).  Boris Navasardyan, President of the Yerevan Press Club, Yerevan, introduced that the Yerevan Press Club and “TEAM” Research Center with the support of Open Society Institute have undertaken two stages of monitoring the coverage of presidential elections 2008 by broadcast media of Armenia. The monitoring covered 8 broadcast media: 4 national TV companies - First Channel of the Public Television of Armenia, “ALM”, “Armenia”, Second Armenian TV Channel; 3 TV companies of Yerevan - “Yerkir Media”, “Kentron”,“Shant”; 1 national radio company - Public Radio of Armenia.  Mr. Navasardyan mentioned that this research has revealed a number of serious problems and shortcomings that have had certain influence on the pre-election situation and the course of elections. In certain cases the analysis of these problems enabled Yerevan Press Club and ”TEAM” Research Center to come up with a number of recommendations: According to Mr. Navasardyan there are serious grounds to maintain that the Public TV and Radio Company violated the broadcasting legislation of Armenia. According to the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, the PTRC programs “are prohibited from having a political stance prevail”.

The other concern that Mr. Navsardyan mentioned was related to the unreadiness of the candidates for open dialogue, discussions, media debate in the pre-election campaign. “Despite all attempts of broadcast media, no one managed to hold debates on the air between the candidates themselves. The programs of “guest in studio” genre were infrequent, too” added Mr. Navasardyan. (for the full report of Yerevan Press Club please click here - Download).  Levon Barseghyan, the president of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club, presented the observations made on the elections day, on February 19. Those observations included all the available information concerning the voting, the results of observations, emergency calls, the announcements of the observers, the announcements of mass media. Thus, Mr. Barseghyan, highlighted some parts of their report on the elections. Basically, he declared that, taking as a base all the violations that “Asparez” Journalists’ Club and its colleagues have recorded, more specifically, the false information broadcasted by the mass media, the enormous overuse of the administrative resources, the widespread delivering of election bribes, form so huge number that makes impossible for us to accept the validity of the final results announced by the Central Electoral Committee. “We consider that what has happened on February 19 was an imitation of elections that was a mass event which was called “Elections”, to organize that event enormous amount of public money has been spent and assistance form International organizations and countries has been received. Assured we announce that the authorities which organized the event called “elections” in reality do not understand and accept the values of democracy. We encourage all the powers, who propagate democratic values to resist the anti-democratic and anti-national violations.  Therefore we consider that for the mass election frauds and violations, the biased activities of the mass media, the pressure undertaken towards the voters, the enormous quantity of election bribes, mass threatening, making  lists  of  voters, making the voters to vote for the specific candidate, for the all violations towards the observers, journalists, the trustees the main responsibility lies on  the Armenian Government.

Hereby we announce that, taking into consideration all mentioned facts we announce that we do not accept the validity of the announced results of the Presidential elections 2008” concluded his press conference Mr. Barseghyan. (to see the full report of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club please click here - Download).


Civil Society Experts Visit Brussels To Present Analysis and Recommendations In Their Fields
In January OSI AF Armenia in cooperation with OSI-Brussels facilitated advocacy visits of Armenian civil society experts to present their analysis and recommendations in the fields of human rights, judicial reform, freedom of the media, corruption, environment, and economic development to relevant sector specialists in the European Commission. The visit aimed to discuss progress made by the Armenian government in implementing its commitments under the ENP Action Plan.

The paper prepared on the basis of the expert analyses also reflects on the ENP planning and implementation process and develops recommendations on how to make the process more effective through employing a more open and consultative approach. A careful examination of the achievements under respective priority areas provides benchmarks for correcting and adjusting the process as it unfolds in the coming year as well as for measuring the impact of the reforms.

It is noteworthy that the analysis undertaken by these civil society experts is part of a longer and more comprehensive undertaking of the civil society actors and organizations to reflect and comment on the ENP process. The same organizations and experts contributed to the package of alternative suggestions to the Action Plan, and later provided analysis of the 2007 implementation plan.  This time they referred to the actual deliverables and the process in the course of its first implementation year. The reason for such persistent and in-depth interest to the ENP is acknowledgement of the importance of European integration and the impact that the ENP can have in this regard.

The fact that the civil society experts could discuss the process and the achievements with the sector specialists in the Commission and share their views on the developments will certainly facilitate the preparation of the first ENP Progress Reports on the Southern Caucasus countries by the European Commission, due out in April 2008. 


Elections 2008 press conference
Press Conference on pre-elections campaign, the election capmaign and post-elections processes.

The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Helsinki Committee of Armenia,Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Branch, “Asparez” Journalists’ Club, “Internews-Armenia” Media Support NGO, Media Diversity Institute, Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia, Transparency International Anti-corruption Center and the Yerevan Press Club are pleased to invite you to a press conference to present to you their joint statement on the pre-election campaign, the election campaign and post-election processes.  The press conference will take place on 29 February 2008 at 11 a.m. in the Combined Meeting Room of the Golden Tulip Hotel.  Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

The key-note speakers at the event are Amalia Kostanyan, Chairwoman of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, Avetik Ishkhanyan, Chairman of Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Boris Navasardyan, President of the Yerevan Press Club and Levon Barseghyan, President of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club.


Discussion over PRSP Implementation, July 12
A discussion over PRSP Implementation will be held by POS on July 12 at 15:00 at the Picasso hall of Congress hotel.  Presentations will be made by Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Mr. Mr. Suren Karayan, Head of School for Health Care Management and Administration of AUA and RA Ministry of Healthcare, Mr. Mihran Nazaretyan, Head of "National Development Scientific-Educational Center" Ms. Gayane Ghukasyan and Rector of Yerevan State Institute of Economy Mr. Yuri Suvaryan.


The Key Issues of RA Judiciary Reform, July 7
A discussion over the topic "The Key Issues of RA Judiciary Reform" was held by POS on July 7.  Presentations were made by Mr. David Harutyunyan, RA Minister of Justice, Mr. David Avetisyan, Judge, Chamber of Criminal and Military Cases of RA Cassation Court and Mr. Hrayr Ghukasyan, Associate Professor at the Law Department of YSU.


Call for investigative journalism

Announcement
Investigative reporting

The Danish funded project Scoop-Caucasus, which supports investigative reporting, has grants for investigations in the period from December 2008-March 2009. All journalists are welcome to apply and you can find the criteria for getting our support at www.i-scoop.org . Here you can also find many investigations already published with Scoop-support.

You are also welcome to turn to our national coordinator Arevhat Grigoryan arevhatg@yahoo.co.uk, 093 43 20 22 to get more information.

Application for financial support for journalistic investigations should be sent to either her or to Danish coordinator for Scoop in Armenia, Mt. HenrikKaufholz Henrik.Kaufholz@pol.dk in English. Deadline for application is December 1st.

Criteria for funding
 
SCOOP-CAUCASUS gives support to two types of investigations:
 
National investigations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. National investigations involve journalists from one of the mentioned countries investigating issues and stories of relevance in their country.
 
Trans-national investigations involves journalists from two or more of the following countries Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and covers issues of cross-border interest.
 
SCOOP-CAUCASUS is open to every journalist with a good idea.
 
The applications for national investigations have to fulfill the following criteria:
 
The investigation will reveal new, important information of obvious public interest.
 
The investigation is based on firm publishing agreements with at least one and preferably several mass media. The media outlet and contact person has to be specifically mentioned in the application
 
The investigative journalist(s) already have access to key information (relevant sources, case-stories, documents) and access to additional information is realistic. This should be described in the application.
 
The investigation will not produce unacceptable risks to the journalists / media involved.
 
The journalist(s) involved will work according to professional journalistic and ethical standards.
 
Key results of the investigation will be published within a reasonably short timeframe.
 
The journalists/editors involved in the investigation will subject their material to legal advisors before publishing to avoid unnecessary conflict with the law.
 
SCOOP-CAUCASUS has to be specifically mentioned when the articles are published. The published investigation will assist in promoting SCOOP-CAUCASUS and the networks in the local, regional or international median community.
 
The budget for the investigation corresponds with the overall parameters of SCOOP-CAUCASUS. The following items can be covered: salary, travel, access to data, access to expert assistance etc. A detailed budget must be submitted. The maximum for national investigations are 2.000 EUR.
 
A CV of the journalist applying and examples of previously published articles should be included.
 
The application should be sent to the coordinator of SCOOP-CAUCASUS in Armenia Arevhat Grigoryan arevhatg@yahoo.co.uk the Danish coordinator Henrik Kaufholz, Henrik.Kaufholz@pol.dk. If the journalist due to sensitivity of the material only wants to reveal the idea for the investigation to a limited group of people the application can be send directly to the Danish coordinator that will treat the application with secrecy. , 093 43 20 22 or
 
The application for trans-national investigations have to fulfill the following criteria:
 
The investigation will reveal new, important information of obvious public interest.
 
The investigation has to involve journalist from two of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
 
The investigation is based on firm publishing agreements with at least one and preferably several mass media. The media outlets and contact persons have to be specifically mentioned in the application.
 
The investigative journalist(s) already have access to key information (relevant sources, case-stories, documents) and access to additional information is realistic. This should be described in the application
 
The investigation will not produce unacceptable risks to the journalists/media involved.
 
The journalist(s) involved will work according to professional journalistic and ethical standards.
 
Key results of the investigation will be published within a reasonably short timeframe.
 
The journalists/editors involved in the investigation will subject their material to legal advisors before publishing to avoid unnecessary conflict with the law.
 
The published investigation will assist in promoting SCOOP-CAUCASUS and the networks in the local, regional or international median community. SCOOP-CAUCASUS has to be specifically mentioned when the articles are published.
 
The budget for the investigation corresponds with the overall parameters of SCOOP-CAUCASUS. The following items can be covered: salary, travel, access to data, access to expert assistance etc. A detailed budget must be submitted. The maximum for trans-national investigations are 6.000 EUR
 
A CV of the journalist applying and examples of previously published articles should be included.
 
The application should be sent to all coordinators of SCOOP-Caucasus, see list on the website www.i-scoop.org
 
Scoop-Caucasus is run by the Danish Association for Investigative Journalism and International Media Support.


Meeting to discuss the main concerns with the processes in the country
On October 9, 2008, in the Ballroom hall of the Congress Hotel, the Partnership for Open Society Initiative organized a meeting to discuss the main concerns with the processes in the country, namely with the recently adopted amendments to the broadcast law, violations of freedom of media/access to media, freedom of assembly and association, widespread corruption and the abuse of power and authority, as well as the CoE Human Rights Commissioner’s report and the country’s implementation of PACE resolutions 1609 and 1620.
 
Invitees to the event included national and international organizations, embassies, political party leaders, government representatives and media.
 
The meeting was launched with the opening remarks of Larisa Minasyan, the Executive Director of the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation – Armenia and “Partnership for Open Society” Initiative member. The recent amendment to the broadcasting legislation, as indicator of problems in lawmaking process in Armenia, was presented by Boris Navasardyan, the president of Yerevan Press Club. Amalia Kostanyan, the chairwoman of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, made a presentation on corruption and the abuse of power and authority. Implementation of PACE Resolution 1609 and 1620 was presented by Avetik Ishkhanyan, the president of Helsinki Committee of Armenia.


Open Society Fellowship
The Open Society Institute - New York is pleased to announce about the launch of the Open Society Fellowship. The Fellowship will enable outstanding individuals from around the world — journalists, activists, academics, practitioners — to work on projects that inspire meaningful public debate, shape policy, and inform the thinking and activities of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations.

Fellows’ projects may include books, articles, documentary films, online media, and efforts to seed new campaigns and organizations.

The Fellowship, directed by Leonard Benardo, focuses on four areas:
- National Security and the Open Society;
- Citizenship, Membership and Marginalization;
- Strategies and Tools for Advocacy and Citizen Engagement; and
- Understanding Authoritarianism.

OSI may also support a limited number of projects that fall outside these areas but are within the scope of OSI’s mission.

Fellows will receive competitive stipends, communications assistance, and access to OSI’s networks of partners and grantees. Most Fellowships will be awarded for one year but longer or shorter durations may be considered. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

For more information, please visit http://www.soros.org/initiatives/fellowship.

Latest

06.10.2015 | News
Description of audit activities on potential fraud and abuse in “ENA” CJSC.
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11.03.2016 | Upcoming Events
Public discussion series “Draft of New Electoral Code and Issues of Realization of Electoral Right in Armenia” in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor.

The Partnership for Open Society Initiative, representing more than 60 civil society organizations, is pleased to invite you to participate in public discussion series titled “Draft of New Electoral Code and Issues of Realization of Electoral Right in Armenia” in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor.

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POS statements

15.02.2016 | Statements
Statement on the Drafting of the New Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia.

We would like to call your attention to the statement on the Drafting of the New Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia. The statement is open for signature.

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