Ambassador Kvien’s Remarks at Forum for Democracy May 31, 2023, 10:00 Transcript

Ambassador Kvien’s Remarks at Forum for Democracy

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Freedom House and the Union of Informed Citizens for organizing this second annual Forum for Democracy.   I also want to commend the people of Armenia for their unwavering commitment to democratic reform despite grave security challenges.   This commitment to democracy makes Armenia a bright spot in the region, as we saw in the “Nations in Transition” report that Freedom House published just last week.

The United States stands with you on your journey towards a more open, accountable, prosperous, and secure future.

In America, our concerns for human rights comes not from a desire to judge others, but from humility about our own history and our own challenges. As Secretary Blinken has said, our willingness to confront these challenges, to acknowledge our shortcomings – not to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist  is what distinguishes democracies from other forms of government.

I am incredibly proud of the work that we are doing together in Armenia to strengthen democracy and safeguard human rights. We are taking steps to eliminate discrimination and foster a society that embraces diversity and the rights of every individual and society, regardless of their background, beliefs, or social status.

The United States is supporting your efforts to combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law, which underpins economic growth and public trust in the democratic process.

We are working together to promote media freedom, protect journalists’ safety, and ensure the unrestricted flow of information and freedom of speech.   We are also building a more resilient democratic foundation by promoting civic education and encouraging the active involvement of Armenia’s very strong civil society.

Of course, as in every democracy including ours, work remains to be done.  I hope this forum can drive forward a conversation about what the next steps are in growing Armenia’s democratic foundation.

As we move forward, we are grateful for our partnerships with Freedom House, the Union for Informed Citizens, the Armenian government, all of you who came today.  I hope this second annual Forum for Democracy can serve as a platform for discussion, sharing best practices, and forging alliances.

Together, we can overcome challenges, empower individuals, and build a future where freedom, justice, and democracy prevail.

I wish you all a productive discussion. Thank you!