Stronger OSCE field presence, civil society co-operation and human rights focus recommended at PA seminar
COPENHAGEN, 28 May 2015 – The OSCE needs a strengthened presence on the ground, closer co-operation with civil society and a rededication to human rights commitments to help realize its goal of achieving comprehensive security, said participants in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Helsinki +40 seminar today in Belgrade. (PHOTOS available here.)
OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) joined other leading parliamentarians, representatives of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship, think-tank experts, civil society actors and academics for the two-day event, which was hosted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in co-operation with the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE).
The seminar followed events in Moscow, Washington, Stockholm and Copenhagen as part of the OSCE PA's Helsinki +40 Project, which aims to evaluate the OSCE's past and inspire reform on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its founding document, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
"People from the 57 participating States [of the OSCE] are expecting us to deliver our promises that peace has no alternative," said Dijana Vukomanovic, the Head of Serbia's Delegation to the PA, in her opening remarks on 27 May.
BELGRADE, 27 May 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) and Secretary General Spencer Oliver met today with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade for extensive discussions on the situation in and around Ukraine and other topics.
Chairperson Dacic briefed the PA President and Secretary General on the activities of the recently inaugurated working groups to deal with various aspects of the Ukraine crisis, including security; political affairs; IDPs, refugees and humanitarian assistance; and economic affairs and rehabilitation, in line with the Package of Measures on the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
The sides also discussed the critical security situation in and around the Donetsk airport as well as in Shyrokyne, located 20 km east of Mariupol, Ukraine.
They also expressed concern at troubling political and security developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and discussed the OSCE's work in relation to the situation.
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.