COPENHAGEN, 19 May 2015 – OSCE parliamentarians will observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in Turkey and provide leadership for the OSCE's short-term observer mission.
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ivica Dacic has designated Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene (MP, Lithuania) as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission for the 7 June vote. Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain) will serve as Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Delegation, which will include 50 MPs from 20 OSCE participating States.
"Ten months ago, during Turkey's first direct presidential election, my fellow observers and I witnessed a vibrant political life but also noted some challenges that must be overcome," said Aleknaite Abramikiene, who also served as OSCE Special Co-ordinator for the August 2014 observation mission.
BISHKEK, 16 May 2015 – OSCE parliamentarians led by Kyrgyzstan's Roza Aknazarova joined government and parliamentary leaders and representatives of international organizations and civil society in Bishkek on May 15-16, calling for improvements in women's rights and opportunities, exchanging experiences and best practices and discussing how to fully harness the power of legislatures to help achieve gender equality.
Aknazarova, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, initiated and co-ordinated the conference, held under the theme "The role of the parliament in achieving gender equality in the context of the Beijing +20 process." Jogorku Kenesh, Kyrgyzstan's Parliament, hosted the conference, supported by the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, the OSCE PA, the United Nations and other international organizations.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariev; Vice Prime Minister Damira Niyazalieva; Parliament Speaker Asylbek Jeenbekov; Deputy Speaker Asiya Sasykbaeva; Supreme Court Chair Feruza Djamasheva; former President Roza Otunbaeva; and several Kyrgyz parliamentarians addressed the event. They offered their perspectives on domestic successes and challenges in promoting women's rights and political participation, as well as gender equality in government, society and the workplace. A speech was also delivered on behalf of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev.
Among the prevalent themes of the conference was the need for parliaments across the OSCE area and beyond not only to pass legislation to advance gender equality, but to more actively and effectively consider all legislation through the prism of gender, taking into account the potential impact on women.
COPENHAGEN, 13 May 2015 – The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), today expressed deep concern over continuing restrictions placed on freedom of media and freedom of speech in Turkey and urged the country's leaders to immediately abide by their commitment to upholding these liberties.
"Turkey's stated goal is to be a modern, European state, but its record on freedom of expression remains incompatible with that goal," Santos said.
The OSCE PA's democracy and human rights Chair noted that Turkey continues to have one of the highest numbers of imprisoned journalists among OSCE participating States, despite notable releases last year, and makes more requests to Twitter to remove content than any other country. She also referenced other forms of pressure on and intimidation of journalists, which often result in self-censorship, as causes for concern.
Following Kumanovo violence, society-wide effort and political resolution are keys to stability, OSCE PA President says
COPENHAGEN, 11 May 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today called on all political and civil society actors in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to work together to promote security and dialogue following the weekend's violence and warned that old ethnic divisions must not be allowed to reemerge in this time of political upheaval.
"On behalf of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I mourn the loss of life in Kumanovo and offer condolences to the families and friends of the victims. There must be an immediate, credible investigation into what occurred. It is crucial that all sectors of society now focus on promoting peace and co-operation and guard against any attempts to reopen the old ethnic divisions that work against their nation's security and progress," Kanerva said.
The OSCE PA President further reiterated that the country's political crisis must be resolved as soon as possible, through its institutions and relying on democratic principles, particularly in order to safeguard security at this critical time.
"The weekend's incidents must convince politicians that the time is absolutely now to resolve the crisis that is paralyzing the country. They must rely on the country's institutions, guided by the rule of law, in order to move beyond this impasse. Failure to do so presents a threat to stability and security in the country and the region at large. The country's neighbors, too, must now act on their special responsibility to promote stability," Kanerva said.
Kanerva urged political leaders in Skopje to fully enlist the support of the OSCE and the international community at this time.