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Strasbourg, 2 March 2008, “I am very concerned about the latest developments in Yerevan and the declaration of the state of emergency. I am shocked to learn that at least 8 people have been killed, and I call on the authorities to investigate all these deaths and the allegations of excessive use of force. Obviously, the investigations should focus on finding the perpetrators of crimes and should not be used to harass political opponents.
Both the authorities and the opposition should do everything they can to prevent any further violence.
I hope that the state of emergency will be lifted very soon. Meanwhile, I call on the authorities to review the justification for the restrictions imposed – especially on media, political parties and non-governmental organisations. These restrictions are an obstacle to political dialogue, which is the only way to find a political solution to the present situation.
The state of emergency suspends the application of several rights and freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 15 of the Convention the Armenian Government must inform me of the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefor. I expect that they will do so without any delay.”