Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights in Biomedicine (known as the Oviedo Convention) is the only legally binding international instrument in the field of biomedicine. It provides a framework for the protection of human rights and human dignity by establishing fundamental principles applicable to health care, medical research, transplantation of organs and tissues, and genomics.
To discuss the possibilities of the ratification of the Council of Europe Oviedo Convention by Armenia, the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan has organized a high-level discussion with national authorities, including the National Assembly, in particular the Standing Committees of Health and Human Rights and Public Affairs, the Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs, Justice, the Office of Human Rights Defender, and other stakeholders.
The meeting was co-chaired by Maxime Longangué, Acting Head of the Council of Europe office in Armenia, Rustam Bakoyan, Acting Chair of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Public Affairs of the National Assembly, Anahit Manasyan, Human Rights Defender of the RA, Lena Nanushyan, First Deputy Minister of Health and Laurence Lwoff, Head of Human Rights and Biomedicine Division. Opening the discussion, Maxime Longangué mentioned that the results of the analysis of national legislation in the field of biomedicine and healthcare vis a vis the principles of the Oviedo Convention and its Additional Protocols caried out within the first phase of the Project on “Protection of Human Rights in Biomedicine” have shown that Armenian legislation is mainly compatible with the Oviedo Convention. Rustam Bakoyan emphasized that the ratification of the Oviedo Convention by Armenia will be an important achievement in strengthening democracy in our country. “Although we have not ratified the Oviedo Convention yet, but its main principles are reflected in our national legislation”; - added Narek Zeynalyan. Anahit Manasyan reaffirmed her commitment to contribute and support to the advocacy of the ratification of the Convention and mentioned the necessity of wide range awareness raising campaigns to raise awareness on the rights guaranteed by the Convention among population. Lena Nanushyan highlighted the joint efforts of the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Health in aligning the national legislation with the European standards enshrined in the Oviedo Convention and serving proper background for its ratification. Susanna Adamyan, Head of the Council of Europe Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that the Ministry has already officially approved the political convenience of the Convention and submitted it to the Ministry of Health to start the circulation of the package within the respective Government agencies.
The results achieved during the first year of the implementation of the Project, as well as new directions of the cooperation with national partners were discussed and approved during the Second Steering Committee meeting followed by the discussion.
The ratification of the Oviedo Convention by Armenia would be an important proof of the commitment of Armenia to ensure protection of human rights in the field of healthcare marking a substantial stride towards guaranteeing human rights protection and consequently improving trust among general population.
This high-level discussion was organized as a part of Council of Europe Cooperation Project on “Protection of Human Rights in Biomedicine II” implemented within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2023-2026.