Civil society engagement essential to advance human rights, says OSCE PA President at Warsaw meeting

WARSAW, 16 September 2019 – Four decades after the Helsinki Final Act, the struggle to respect and promote human rights and human security remains a challenge in the OSCE area, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli said at the opening of the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw today. Noting that the past decade has represented a downward trend, Tsereteli stressed that the human dimension requires increased dedication and focus by all.

George Tsereteli and PA del at HDIMRoberto Montella, Pia Kauma, George Tsereteli and Kyriakos Hadjiyianni at 2019 HDIM, 16 September 2019Also participating from the OSCE PA at the HDIM are the Assembly’s human rights committee Chair Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (MP, Cyprus), OSCE PA Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement Pia Kauma (MP, Finland), and OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella. Several bilateral meetings are scheduled on the margins of the HDIM.

The President stressed in his opening remarks that the human dimension is a central part of the Parliamentary Assembly’s work. He welcomed the opportunity to engage further with civil society, noting that listening to the voices of civil society is an essential exercise in order to ensure that governments are responsive to the concerns, needs and aspirations of the people.

“This forum,” he noted, “should be seen as an opportunity for discussion and self-reflection, rather than an arena for finger-pointing and self-justifications. But, of course, honest discussions and debates need a practical follow-up. We need political will to put all these ideas into practice.”

In order to strengthen the OSCE PA’s engagement with civil society and promote anti-corruption efforts, he has recently appointed new Special Representatives to focus on these issues, Tsereteli said.

President Tsereteli also highlighted relevant recommendations from the PA’s recent Luxembourg Declaration, adopted at the Annual Session in July.

“Noting the particular sensitivity of attacks against journalists, the OSCE PA recently called for effective parliamentary oversight of government actions on all cases of journalists’ murders, their imprisonment or ill treatment,” Tsereteli said.

He also noted that the Luxembourg Declaration urges OSCE participating States to “open sessions of the Permanent Council to public observation” including through live streaming on the internet.

He highlighted the OSCE’s consensus rule as an embodiment of the inclusiveness of the Organization and one of its strengths, but stressed that it cannot be allowed to become its weakness.

“Consensus should not stand in the way of strong, principled decisions,” Tsereteli said.

The HDIM, organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, is taking place 16-27 September in the Polish capital. This year’s conference includes more than 1,500 participants from across the 57 countries of the OSCE. More information is available here.

For President Tsereteli's full remarks, please click here.

Photos from the OSCE PA's participation at the HDIM are available on Flickr.

HDIML-R: Roberto Montella, Thomas Greminger, Miroslav Lajcak, Ingibjorg Gisladottir, George Tsereteli, Lamberto Zannier, and Harlem Desir



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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