final report of the ODIHR election observation mission for the 18 September 2016 parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation. The report’s findings and recommendations will be discussed with representatives of state authorities, election administration, civil society and the international community.MOSCOW, 19 January 2017 – Representatives of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) are in Moscow from 18 to 20 January 2017 to present the
“We noted the improved transparency in the election administration for the September elections, and I hope that the parliament and other authorities will similarly undertake the important additional reforms that are necessary,” said Ilkka Kanerva, appointed as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission. “With a presidential election expected in 2018, the coming year presents an excellent window of opportunity to respond to ODIHR’s recommendations, in the interests of all Russian citizens.”
“During this visit, we encouraged the authorities of the Russian Federation to follow-up on the recommendations in the ODIHR election reports, as all OSCE participating States committed themselves to do,” said Michael Georg Link, ODIHR Director. “ODIHR looks forward to continuing its co-operation with the Russian Federation and stands ready to provide assistance with a view to improving the electoral process, as well as in other areas of the Office’s mandate.”
COPENHAGEN, 18 January 2017 – Responding today to a proposed plan by the Hungarian government to hold all asylum seekers in detention centres for the entire duration of their application process on national security grounds, Spanish parliamentarian and Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee Ignacio Sanchez Amor called on Hungary to respect the rights of asylum seekers on its territory.
“This proposal could pose a threat to every asylum seeker in Hungary and risks denying vulnerable individuals, many of whom have fled from violence and terror, their fundamental rights. I recall Hungary’s commitments under European and international law, and urge authorities not to adopt punitive policies as a method of deterrence. Governments must avoid actions that risk further stigmatizing migrants and asylum seekers at a time when they need more protection, not less,” said Sanchez Amor.
In its 2016 Tbilisi Declaration, the OSCE PA stressed the importance of open and secure borders, while also calling on governments to stop imposing legal and physical barriers to the movement of people fleeing violence and to actively work toward an inclusive approach to migrants and refugees, including through incorporating refugees and asylum seekers within the national labour market at the earliest possible stage.
Parliamentary President, concerned about diplomatic deadlock over OSCE field operations, underscores importance of safeguarding Organization’s outreach potential
VIENNA, 13 January 2017 – The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Austrian parliamentarian Christine Muttonen, today called for the immediate agreement on the extension of mandates of OSCE field operations, some of which are currently being held up by representatives of OSCE countries.
“Field missions have long been the crown jewel of the OSCE, both helping OSCE countries to live up to their commitments through practical project work and representing a vital element of the Organization’s outreach capacity. The excellent work being done by our professionals in the field is now effectively being held hostage by diplomats in Vienna, some of whom are vetoing this most important work of the Organization,” said Muttonen.
The mandates of the OSCE’s field operations in Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan all expired on 31 December 2016 without agreement on their extension. The OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk is set to expire on 31 January, currently with no agreement on extension.
COPENHAGEN, 10 January 2017 – On the eve of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility’s 15th anniversary, Spanish parliamentarian Ignacio Sanchez Amor, Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee, reiterated longstanding concerns over the prison and the practice of indefinite detention.
Regretting that President Barack Obama was unable to follow through on his stated commitment to close Guantanamo, Sanchez Amor urged the outgoing administration to continue transferring prisoners who have been cleared for release, and urged the new U.S. administration to bring remaining prisoners to trial and pursue efforts to close the prison.
“Fifteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration made a fateful decision to establish a detention facility for suspected terrorists that would be out of the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and, so President Bush thought, beyond the reach of international law. Since then, it has proved extremely difficult to resolve the dilemma of what to do with these prisoners, many of whom have been denied their legal rights and have suffered physical and psychological abuse,” Sanchez Amor said.