OSCE needs stronger institutions, focus on commitments, say participants in PA’s Helsinki +40 Washington seminar
COPENHAGEN, 19 November 2014 – The second leg of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Helsinki +40 seminar series has concluded in Washington, with six current and former Assembly presidents, members of the U.S. Congress, diplomats, experts and academics considering how the OSCE can most effectively promote good transatlantic relations and respond to new challenges, particularly in light of the crisis in Ukraine.
The need for an East-West bridge that inspired the creation of the OSCE remains acute today, but the capacities of OSCE institutions, particularly its parliamentary dimension, must be strengthened, and there must be renewed focus on adherence to the Organization’s core principles, the participants said.
The OSCE PA’s Helsinki +40 Project is a series of international seminars at leading think-tanks that bring together diplomats, politicians and scholars 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.
Statement by OSCE PA human rights chair on the five-year anniversary of the death of Sergei Magnitsky
COPENHAGEN, 14 November 2014 – On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the death of Sergei Magnistky, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), has called for an end to impunity in Russia and greater attention to the persistent link between corruption and human rights transgressions across the OSCE area.
"The killing of whistleblowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on 16 November 2009 captured the attention of the world, but still, five years later, has not brought the change to his country that its citizens deserve. Let us mark this anniversary by remembering why Magnitsky's life was taken – that is, for speaking truth to power. Let us renew our call for an end to impunity in Russia, not only for the people who killed this true patriot, but for the systemic corruption, human rights transgressions and lack of rule of law that have led to his and other unacceptable deaths there," Santos said.
"We must also remember why Magnitsky's case continues to have meaning far beyond Russia: On an almost weekly basis we hear of instances across the OSCE area and in the wider world in which state authorities abuse their power to silence those who expose lapses in the rule of law. Lawlessness and corruption continue to erode human rights. I applaud the numerous countries that have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky's killing, but the OSCE and the international community must do more to demand adherence in Russia and beyond to the norms of a civilized and just world," Santos added.
COPENHAGEN, 14 November 2014 – OSCE parliamentarians will observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in Moldova and provide leadership for the OSCE's short-term observer mission.
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter has designated Emin Onen (MP, Turkey) as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission for the 30 November vote. Arta Dade (MP, Albania) will serve as Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Delegation, which will include parliamentarians from 23 OSCE participating States.
"An election that adheres to OSCE standards will be important for political stability in Moldova. In a clear demonstration of the importance that the international community attaches to this vote, more than 50 of my fellow parliamentarians from throughout the OSCE are coming to observe. We look forward to our work," Special Co-ordinator Onen said.
President Kanerva decries 'unacceptable restrictions' on Ukraine border observers, urges reform before OSCE Permanent Council
COPENHAGEN, 13 November 2014 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) criticized "unacceptable restrictions" on what OSCE observers on the Ukrainian-Russian border are able to report and called for broad Organizational reform in an address today before the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
"In order to achieve consensus on deploying the [OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk on the Ukrainian-Russian border], unacceptable restrictions were condoned in its mandate," Kanerva said before the Council, which approved the Mission in July.
"Let's be honest: The Mission is restricted to report only on what it sees pass through the official crossings along the tiniest strip of border. If we are not permitted to do it right, the question is, is it worth doing at all?" he added.