COPENHAGEN, 5 March 2015 – The Swedish Parliament and one of the country’s leading think-tanks, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), will host the next leg of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Helsinki +40 Project in Stockholm on 11 March.
Experts, policy-makers, ambassadors and OSCE parliamentarians will gather to consider how the European security architecture can become more effective in responding to crises; the OSCE’s potential to counter challenges through its cross-dimensional approach to security; the PA’s role in the OSCE; and related topics.
Held under the theme “The OSCE’s role in (re)consolidating European security,” the event is the third in the OSCE PA’s series of international seminars that aim to evaluate the OSCE’s past and inspire reform ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Organization’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
Although Tajikistan’s parliamentary elections provided some political alternatives, campaign space was restricted and a fair count could not be guaranteed, international observers say
DUSHANBE, 2 March 2015 – Some contestants provided political alternatives, yet the March 1 parliamentary elections in Tajikistan took place in a restricted political space and failed to provide a level playing field for candidates, the international observers concluded in a preliminary statement released today. Although the government stated its ambition to hold democratic elections, and some improvements were made to electoral law, restrictions on the right to candidacy, on freedoms of expression and assembly, and on access to the media limited the opportunity to make a free and informed choice.
"Engagement by various political forces in this campaign was, unfortunately, not enough to result in truly competitive elections. Uneven treatment by the authorities and remaining legal restrictions limited the space for debate on the real problems facing Tajikistan," said Marietta Tidei, the Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission. "The voters, many of whom I was pleased to speak with yesterday, deserve more genuine discussion about the future of their country," she added.
"I was pleased to observe that the vote took place in a calm and peaceful manner, however significant shortcomings, including multiple voting and ballot box stuffing, and disregard of counting procedures meant that an honest count could not be guaranteed," said Norbert Neuser, Head of the EP delegation. "I encourage the authorities to introduce the changes necessary to make the voting procedure transparent and credible."
COPENHAGEN, 28 February 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today issued the following statement on the murder of Russian opposition leader and former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov on Friday night in Moscow:
"I am outraged and appalled at the news of Boris Nemtsov's murder. On behalf of the parliamentarians of the OSCE, I call on Russian authorities to uncover the truth behind this killing and bring its planners and perpetrators to justice. I sincerely hope that a swift and comprehensive investigation will dispel fears that Mr. Nemtsov was targeted for his political views and outspokenness in criticizing the Russian government, including its recent actions in Ukraine, as well as corruption in the country.
"Boris Nemtsov will be remembered as a passionate man who fought for what he believed was best for Russia and its people, knowing full well the dangers that came with his work. I express my condolences to his family, friends and supporters."
COPENHAGEN, 25 February 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today issued the following statement on continuing restrictions imposed on OSCE monitors in Ukraine and the need for full Russian support:
"I am profoundly disturbed by the illegal separatists' continuing refusal to grant unlimited, safe access to OSCE monitors on the ground in Ukraine and their violations of the Minsk Package of Measures. By extension, I am also disturbed by Russia's apparent unwillingness to publicly insist that the rebels immediately allow the monitors access, stop all ceasefire violations and withdraw all heavy weapons. Any attempts by the rebels to threaten the city of Mariupol must be met with a swift and decisive response by the international community.
"I echo OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier in insisting that Russia can do more, and that also includes full support for the expansion of all OSCE monitoring activities in Ukraine. Rejection by Russia's UN ambassador of an enlarged monitoring mission on the Ukrainian-Russian border runs counter to the international community's efforts to make sure weapons are flowing out of -- not into -- Ukraine. Indeed, Russia's objection to more eyes along the most volatile border in Europe today raises more concerns that this mission, in its highly limited capacity, is simply being used as a cover, while separatists receive the material support they need.
"The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly remains ready to help rebuild trust and promote dialogue between Russian and Ukrainian lawmakers, and I hope that the facts on the ground will soon work in support of our efforts," Kanerva said.
President Kanerva met with members of the Russian and Ukrainian Delegations to the OSCE PA on the sidelines of the Assembly's Winter Meeting last week, where the crisis in Ukraine was the topic of a special debate.