Arms control, prison reform, economic crisis to be focus of OSCE PA Winter Meeting

COPENHAGEN, 14 February 2012 – Parliamentarians from more than 50 countries will debate arms control, judicial systems and prison reform, counter-terrorism and the global financial crisis at the OSCE PA Winter Meeting 23-24 February in Vienna.

The Winter Meeting kicks off with an international panel addressing the Assembly's human rights committee about torture, prisons and justice. Scheduled to appear:

  • Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, will discuss the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, among other issues.
  • Bill Browder of Hermitage Capital Management will speak about the case of his attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison.
  • Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, will discuss her mother's seven-year prison sentence.
  • Iryna Bogdanova, sister of former Belarusian presidential candidate and opposition leader Andrei Sannikov, serving a five-year sentence for protesting after the 2010 elections.
  • Lucia Uva, sister of Giuseppe Uva, who was arrested in Varese, Italy in 2008 and died in custody three days later.

The global financial crisis and its impact on the OSCE area will be debated in the Assembly's economic committee with presentations from Amb. Eustathios Lozos, Chair of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Committee and Permanent Representative of Greece to the OSCE, and Goran Svilanovic, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

In the committee on political and military affairs, parliamentarians will discuss the fight against terrorism and crime with high-level briefings by UN and OSCE officials.

The special debate on arms control is expected to include participation from leading experts from the United States and the Russian Federation.

Also scheduled to address the Winter Meeting are OSCE PA President Petros Efthymiou, President of the Austrian Parliament Barbara Prammer, Ireland's Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton as Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.

OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry will present a report on gender, followed by a discussion.

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