At OSCE PA event in Warsaw, parliamentarians and experts discuss ways to integrate civil society in the work of parliaments

061023 warsaw hdc photoKyriakos Hadjiyianni delivers opening remarks at Warsaw side event, 6 October 2023WARSAW, 6 October 2023 – On the sidelines of the OSCE’s Human Dimension Conference, which is taking place from 2-13 October in Warsaw, OSCE PA Vice-President Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) has organized an open discussion on integrating civil society in the work of national parliaments and international parliamentary organizations such as the OSCE PA. Today’s event provided an opportunity to exchange good practices, lessons learned and innovations pertaining to a more substantial inclusion of civil society in the work of parliaments.

During the event, Hadjiyianni presented the conclusions from the Vancouver 2023 Declaration and briefed participants about the Resolution on the Role of National Parliaments in Enhancing Participation of Civil Society in Parliamentary and Decision-Making Processes. He stressed that civil society is facing serious challenges throughout the OSCE region and that one of them is ensuring their substantive participation in the work of parliaments.

“We recognize the expertise that civil society brings to the table, and it is an important voice for us parliamentarians to hear,” said Hadjiyianni. Existing practices in the OSCE PA serve to engage civil society representatives in its decision-making, he pointed out.

During the main panel discussion, Andrew Gardner from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights emphasized the precarious situation faced by the human rights defenders across the OSCE region and elaborated upon ODIHR’s work in this regard. Ivana Korajlić, Transparency International Executive Director in Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlined the dangers that speedy or urgent parliamentary procedures and “pro forma” public discussions can pose, as well as negative trends related to the “foreign agents” laws adopted in some OSCE countries.

Bartosz Kramek, Chair of the Open Dialogue Foundation Board, stressed that ensuring smooth access for civil society to the sessions of parliaments and transnational institutions, in order to update parliamentarians on emerging threats to democratic societies, remains of vital importance.

Nana Kalandadze, Programme Manager at International IDEA, highlighted the importance of civil society input for effective legislation. “If parliaments are to be effective in the exercise of their core functions, and especially the lawmaking and oversight functions, they must rely on the input from civil society,” she said.

The side event brought together more than 30 representatives of OSCE governments, parliaments and civil society, experts in the field of civil society and political participation, representatives of OSCE executive structures, and delegations of OSCE participating States.

OSCE PA Members are actively participating in the Warsaw HDC. Earlier this week, Assembly President Pia Kauma (Finland) spoke at the opening session, stressing that a vibrant and strong civil society is fundamental for the promotion and protection of human rights and democratic values. She also contributed to the side event on “Countering Online Violence: Guidelines for Monitoring Online Violence Against Female Journalists”, organized on 4 October by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

On 9 October, Chair of the OSCE PA General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions Lucie Potuckova (Czech Republic) will participate as an introducer for the Rule of Law Session.



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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