OSCE PA Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus Chair Kent Harstedt responds to Belarusian announcements on election reform
COPENHAGEN, 29 April 2016 – Kent Harstedt (MP, Sweden), Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Chair of its Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus, had a mixed reaction to the statement of Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus Lidia Yermoshina following the press conference with the head of state on 27 April.
“The Belarusian government has taken a positive step in agreeing to implement some of the OSCE/ODIHR’s recommendations made after recent election observations in the country. I however regret that long overdue changes to the electoral law are not foreseen in the coming months,” said Harstedt.
“It remains to be seen how, in practice, the declarations made by the highest level of the electoral administration will translate into action in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections,” he added.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly human rights chair calls for reversal of court decision banning the Tatar Mejlis in Crimea
COPENHAGEN, 27 April 2016 – A decision Tuesday by the top court in Russian-occupied Crimea to ban the Crimean Tatars’ governing body indicates a new level of stigmatization of the Tatar community and should be reversed, said OSCE Parliamentary Assembly human rights chair Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal) today.
“Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the de facto authorities there have waged a systematic campaign of discrimination against the Tatars, using accusations of ‘extremism’ to justify this repression,” Santos said in a statement. “There is nothing extremist about an ethnic minority advocating for its civil, political and linguistic rights, which is precisely what the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars has done since 1991. The Mejlis is guided by principles of non-violence and its ban by an illegitimate court is yet another violation of fundamental freedoms on the Crimean peninsula.”
She added that she is deeply concerned that the de facto authorities have taken a step towards criminalizing the Crimean Tatars as an ethnic group and urged that the decision be reversed.
Leaders of OSCE PA’s economic and environmental committee welcome Earth Day signing of Climate Agreement
COPENHAGEN, 22 April 2016 – The signing of the historic Paris Climate Agreement by world leaders in New York today is a fitting tribute to the global celebration of Earth Day and a reminder of the work that remains to be done in countering global warming, said the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s economic and environmental committee, Nilza Sena (MP, Portugal) and Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy), today.
The one billion-plus citizens of the OSCE area, which includes some of the world’s primary producers and consumers of fossil fuels, expect vigorous follow-through on these Paris commitments, noted Sena and Tidei. In a joint statement, the two lawmakers welcomed in particular the significance of the United States and China – the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – taking the lead in pushing the Paris climate deal into force early.
Parliamentarians meet in Franco-German border region to consider contributions to addressing protracted conflicts in the OSCE area
LEINSWEILER, 17 April 2016 – Members of Parliament from 15 countries gathered in the French-German border region on 16 and 17 April to consider parliamentary contributions to OSCE efforts in addressing conflicts. Some 25 parliamentarians, including from several countries impacted by protracted conflicts, heard presentations from experts on reconciliation processes particularly in the Saar-Lor-Lux and Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino regions.
The seminar was opened by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland), and Treasurer Doris Barnett (MP, Germany), and brought together parliamentarians from Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Sweden and Switzerland.