COPENHAGEN, 27 August 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General Spencer Oliver hosted his counterpart from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), David Hobbs, and his counterpart from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Wojciech Sawicki, on 26 August for the latest in regular consultations between the three Secretaries General.
In discussions held at the OSCE PA International Secretariat in Copenhagen, the Secretaries General addressed the crisis in and around Ukraine, the assemblies’ responses to the crisis, and the effect on relations between the three bodies and Russia.
The Secretaries General also discussed the upcoming local elections in Ukraine and other elections scheduled during the remainder of 2015.
Oliver, Hobbs and Sawicki further discussed gender balance within their respective assemblies and addressed logistical issues concerning upcoming meetings.
COPENHAGEN, 19 August 2015 – Putting up barriers will not solve the deepening crisis concerning migrants and refugees in Europe, but a policy based on solidarity and respect for human lives will, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly humanitarian Chair Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal) said in a statement today.
“It is deeply disturbing that some European governments and lawmakers appear content to turn their backs on those who have fled their homelands in search of basic safety and human dignity. Building new walls may seem like a ‘quick fix,’ but it does nothing to address the root causes of this crisis. European countries must also acknowledge that a lasting solution means better sharing the burden of legitimate asylum-seekers and refugees,” Santos said.
The Chairperson of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions noted that there was a record number of migrants reaching EU borders in July. She also noted reports that British Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will meet on 19 August regarding the situation in Calais, France.
“As Europeans, how can we allow this humanitarian tragedy to unfold before our eyes? It is shocking that more than 2,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year, as is the recent situation in Calais. While Europe cannot become responsible for all of those affected by war and suffering in the world, we have a moral obligation to do much more than what we are currently doing. We must prioritize solidarity and the fact that real human lives are at stake in our policy-making,” Santos said.
COPENHAGEN, 13 August 2015 – The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), today condemned the sentencing of Azerbaijani rights activist Leyla Yunus and her husband, Arif, to lengthy prison terms and called on authorities to urgently begin respecting their OSCE commitments in the spheres of human rights and civil liberties.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of today’s politically motivated court decision to lock away one of Azerbaijan’s most prominent and courageous human rights defenders, Leyla Yunus, and her husband, Arif. The Azerbaijani authorities apparently know no shame in violating the basic OSCE standards that should have protected the Yunuses, such as respect for human rights, freedom of speech and rule of law. The anti-democratic free fall continues in Baku, and I urge the government to immediately reverse this trend,” Santos said.
Santos also noted that both Leyla and Arif Yunus are suffering from serious health conditions.
“The Azerbaijani government, however, has an opportunity to make a powerful statement of a positive nature by releasing the Yunuses on humanitarian grounds. I appeal to the authorities to consider such a decision,” she said.
COPENHAGEN, 6 August 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) has appointed German parliamentarian Juergen Klimke to serve as the PA’s first Special Representative for the Baltic Sea Area.
The newly established position will help focus and strengthen the Assembly’s work on promoting security and co-operation in the Baltic Sea area, while also enhancing the Assembly’s co-operation with other international organizations in the region.
“The peoples and countries of the Baltic Sea area have special links in terms of history, economics, environmental issues and foreign policy. This new position will help boost the OSCE PA’s awareness of dynamics both within this important region, as well as between it and other regions and countries. Doing so will lead to more informed dialogue among OSCE parliamentarians and better understanding of one another. I am confident in Mr. Klimke’s abilities and expertise for this role and I look forward to working with him,” President Kanerva said.