COPENHAGEN, 23 January 2015 – The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), today expressed concern about the sentencing of prominent Tajikistani lawyer and opposition figure Shukhrat Kudratov and the state of civil and political liberties in the country.
She also noted the new charges brought against Zayd Saidov, the leader of an unregistered political party.
"On the eve of parliamentary elections, at a time when Tajikistan should be engaged in an open debate on what's best for the country, these legal measures cast doubt on political freedom, judicial independence and rule of law," Santos said.
Senior OSCE PA delegation visits refugee camp on Turkey-Syria border, urges strengthened global response
COPENHAGEN, 21 January 2015 – A senior delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly led by President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) and human rights and humanitarian committee Chairperson Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal) today visited a refugee camp in Harran, Turkey, near the country’s border with Syria, to observe conditions and raise awareness of the worsening human toll of the Syrian crisis.
“Turkey continues to take on an enormous humanitarian responsibility as the nightmare across the border continues. The government’s efforts and the amount of resources it has devoted in response to the refugee crisis are impressive and worthy of praise. At the same time, only a fraction of Syrian refugees can be accommodated in camps and more are crossing the border daily. The international community must not grow complacent and must boost its assistance to this vulnerable population right now,” Kanerva and Santos said in a joint statement.
The Harran refugee camp houses approximately 14,500 of the estimated 1.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey today and includes schools, medical and other facilities.
“We spoke to women, men and families whose lives have been torn apart. They don’t know when, if ever, they will be home again. Still, many know they are lucky just to have made it this far. This is not a Syrian problem or a Turkish problem now, but a problem for the world’s conscience. We urge leaders from across the OSCE area and beyond to work closely with Turkey and do more to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on the real lives behind the statistics,” they added.
COPENHAGEN, 17 January 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General Spencer Oliver met today with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tamar Beruchashvili, Parliament Chairperson David Usupashvili and other high-ranking government and parliamentary officials in Tbilisi for discussions that focused on recent political and security developments in the country and region.
The status of the economy and current challenges to the territorial integrity of Georgia were among the main topics discussed during the wide-ranging exchanges of views.
The sides also addressed prospects for enhanced co-operation as well as plans for the Parliamentary Assembly's 2016 Annual Session, which Georgia will host.
"While world leaders focus on efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, no one should overlook that Georgia, too, has had its territorial integrity breached. Notwithstanding that enormous challenge, this country has pushed ahead with its reform agenda. I welcome the commitment expressed by Georgia's government and parliamentary leaders to continue to fight corruption, improve the rule of law and pursue other steps to strengthen democracy," Oliver said.
COPENHAGEN, 15 January 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today welcomed the 2015 Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE and pledged the Assembly's support for its focus on resolving the conflict in Ukraine and other goals.
"On behalf of the OSCE's parliamentary branch, I welcome the Serbian Chairmanship and the new Chairperson-in-Office, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic. What we have witnessed this week -- the appalling attack on a bus and a marked deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine -- proves the urgency of the Serbian Chairmanship's goal to facilitate a lasting end to hostilities and broad national dialogue," Kanerva said.
"The elected parliamentarians of the OSCE stand ready to offer our contribution, including new ideas, feedback and oversight, as Serbia leads the Organization during this critical time," he added.