The Representative of the Czech Republic to the Political and Security Committee Tomáš Szunyog, opened the session congratulating the EaP CSF on their work.
Boris Navasardyan (Yerevan Press Club) moderated the second panel session on Democracy, Human Rights and International Security. He suggested that the implementation of the non-DCFTA EaP countries’ commitments under the UN conventions in certain areas can lead to a better performance than that of the DCFTA countries. Katerina Zarembo from the New Europe Center (Ukraine) elaborated on the security issues in the region. She mentioned Ukraine as the best performing partner, especially at the level of political cooperation. She also talked about the “ring of fire” related to the number of frozen and active conflicts in the region, which are often used as an excuse for the lack of progress, and referred to the increasing militarisation in EaP countries.
Tamuna Khidasheli, a human rights lawyer from Georgia, clarified why, despite the general perception, Belarus performed worse than Azerbaijan in human rights field in 2015-2016. She explained that the death penalty enforcement and the non-ratification of many human rights conventions resulted in a low ranking for Belarus. She also presented some interesting observation in the areas of media freedom and Internet access. For example, Georgia is the best performer in media freedom while it is the worst in access to the Internet. The lawyer also raised concerns about new restrictions to media in Ukraine and mentioned some limited positive developments in the framework of the EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue and the release of some political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
The project is funded by the European Union, Open Society Foundations, the International Renaissance Foundation, Ukraine (IRF), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.