A referendum on the amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia will be held on 6 December. The presented constitution draft intends to abolish of the fundamental rights - right to live in healthy and favourable environment, which is laid down in Article 33.2 of the Constitution.
“It’s a fundamental right and it’s impermissible to deprive our citizens from this fundamental right with one strike of the pen. It found its place in the Constitution in 2005 due to great pressure exercised by NGOs. Till 2005 the absence of this provision led to the violation of our citizens’ rights prescribed by the Aarhus Convention. If this provision is missing that we have a right to live in healthy environment, it means that our citizens have no right to call upon courts,” said Nazeli Vardanyan, Director of “Forests of Armenia” Environmental NGO environmental lawyer at the press conference held at EcoLur Press Club on 9 October.
Karine Danielyan, Chairman of “Association of Sustainable Human Development” mentioned when the members of the Public Council met with the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, she raised the aforementioned problems. In reply, Vardan Poghosyan, a member of Constitutional Committee, an expert in constitutions, outlined that all raised problems will be regulated with laws and such petty problems shall not be in the constitution.
“If this provision is missing in the Constitution, it can’t be in other laws, as there will be contradictions with the Constitution. Fundamental rights are laid down in the main law, which is the constitution in the Republic of Armenia,” Nazeli Vardanyan responded and added “The main function of the Nature Protection Ministry is to ensure nature conservation. If it doesn’t keep the nature under the Constitution, why to keep this body?”
Nazeli Vardanyan also mentioned that the draft Constitution was presented and approved in very tight deadlines, it wasn’t discussed widely, and each citizen of Armenia didn’t have the opportunity to express his/her opinion and to make proposals.
15:13 October 12, 2015