OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Centre in Ashgabat hold seminar for Turkmen MPs on parliamentary activities
ASHGABAT, 15 April 2015 – Lawmakers from Turkmenistan discussed the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and opportunities to deepen their engagement in its work at a seminar conducted by the OSCE PA and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat this week.
The seminar, hosted by the Turkmen parliament, Mejlis, on 14-15 April, featured presentations by Thierry Mariani (MP, France), the OSCE PA's Special Representative for Central Asia; Roza Aknazarova (MP, Kyrgyzstan), the Сhairperson of the OSCE PA's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and OSCE PA Programme Officer Maria Chepurina.
"This seminar marks a new step in co-operation between the Mejlis of Turkmenistan, the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly," said Ambassador Ivo Petrov, the Head of the Centre, in a message to participants.
"The OSCE Centre initiated this event so that MPs from different OSCE participating States could exchange their experiences of working in the Assembly with their colleagues from Turkmenistan. It is my strong belief that our seminar will contribute to enhanced involvement of Mejlis members in the PA's activities and, as a result, strengthened co-operation between the Mejlis and parliaments of other OSCE countries," he added.
COPENHAGEN, 16 April 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 Rasul Jafarov to a lengthy prison term and called on the international community to recognize him as a prisoner of conscience.
"The past year has been a period of attack after attack by the authorities in Azerbaijan on the country's most prominent defenders of civil liberties, justice and clean governance. Today's sentencing follows a long history of official targeting of Mr. Jafarov, including trumped up charges, financial pressure and travel restrictions. It is high time for all of us to acknowledge that he is clearly a prisoner of conscience and, unfortunately, not alone as such in Azerbaijan today," Santos said.
The Baku Court on Grave Crimes sentenced Jafarov on 16 April to six and a half years in prison on charges including embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion. Jafarov denies the allegations against him and his lawyer has vowed to file an appeal.
COPENHAGEN, 10 April 2015 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance, U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, today expressed deep concern over the fatal shooting of Walter Scott by a police officer on 4 April in the U.S. state of South Carolina.
"The video depicting the tragic shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American man, at the hands of law enforcement further demonstrates the necessity for a full review of the inequalities in the U.S. justice system," Special Representative Cardin said.
"While I have long called for legislation to end racial profiling in my own country, issues of discriminatory policing also remain a problem throughout the OSCE area, from France to Russia. As we work to address issues of intolerance, we must be certain to also include those responsible for safeguarding and administering justice in our societies," he added.
In March, Senator Cardin was appointed to serve as the first Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance in the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly, which brings together lawmakers from the Organization's 57 participating States in Europe, North America and Central Asia. The newly established position strengthens the Assembly's efforts to counter prejudice and discrimination across the OSCE area.
COPENHAGEN, 8 April 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today called for an immediate end to the intimidation of OSCE monitors in Ukraine and reiterated the need for the monitors to have unfettered access throughout the country.
"The illegal separatists have threatened OSCE staff on the ground in Ukraine and I especially deplore yesterday's extreme example, in which a fighter from the so-called Donetsk People's Republic opened fire toward an OSCE monitoring patrol. This situation cannot continue as is, and I am even more convinced of the need to seriously consider an international peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine in support of the OSCE's civilian mission," Kanerva said.
The OSCE PA President also noted the continuing restrictions placed by illegal separatists and Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel on the movement of OSCE monitors and the effect of those restrictions on their reporting capacity.