Cederfelt appoints new Special Representative on Political Prisoners and three new regional Special Representatives, reappoints SRs

COPENHAGEN, 23 July 2022 – President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden), entering her second term, appointed this week four new Special Representatives.

In view of the concerns expressed in the Birmingham Declaration regarding the continued increase in the number of political prisoners across the OSCE region, including cases of activists and public figures being detained, arrested, convicted and otherwise punished for political motives, as well as all other citizens who have faced similar retaliation, Cederfelt appointed Steve Cohen (United States) as Special Representative on Political Prisoners.

cohen embSpecial Representative on Political Prisoners Steve CohenThe Special Representative on Political Prisoners is mandated to:

  • Report on the political imprisonment of individuals and their eventual release.
  • Develop policy recommendations aimed at enhancing effective political freedom throughout the OSCE region.
  • Coordinate closely with other relevant Special Representatives and with officers of the Third Committee.
  • Promote inter-parliamentary dialogue as a means to advocate the release of political prisoners and to prevent additional politically motivated imprisonments.
  • Work closely with OSCE executive structures and with relevant external partners on issues related to political prisoners to improve the visibility and impact of OSCE action in this field, in line with the OSCE\s conflict prevention mandate.

Congressman Cohen serves as Head of the Delegation of the United States of America to the OSCE PA. He has been a member of the U.S. House of Representative since 2008, where he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. He is also a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. Helsinki Commission and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

de ridder embSpecial Representative on Easter Europe Daniela De RidderCederfelt also appointed Daniela De Ridder (Germany) as Special Representative on Eastern Europe, with a mandate to serve as the primary point of contact within the OSCE PA on issues pertinent to the region. In addition, she will:

  • Follow political and other developments and trends in the region. Promote dialogue in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to lend the Parliamentary Assembly’s contribution in the spheres of parliamentary diplomacy, confidence building, reconciliation, and dialogue facilitation.
  • Liaise and coordinate with other OSCE and OSCE PA structures as well as other relevant domestic and international actors on regional issues, particularly in relation to Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.
  • Advise the President on the situation in the region and potential actions by the PA.

De Ridder has previously served as Special Representative for Eastern Europe from 2020 to 2021. She became again a member of the German Parliament in May 2022 and subsequently rejoined the Delegation of Germany to the OSCE PA.

President Cederfelt also appointed Vice-President Michael Georg Link (Germany) as new Special Representative on South East Europe, and Vice-President Pere Joan Pons (Spain) as new Special Representative on South Caucasus.

She reappointed:

  • Benjamin Cardin (United States) as Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance;
  • Bryndis Haraldsdottir (Island) as Special Representative on Arctic Issues;
  • Pia Kauma (Finland) as Special Representative on Central Asia;
  • Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) as Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement;
  • Radu-Mihai Mihail (Romania) as Special Representative on Digital Agenda;
  • Paola Taverna (Italy) as Special Representative on the Elderly Issues;
  • Irene Charalambides (Cyprus) as Special Representative on Fighting Corruption;
  • Hedy Fry (Canada) as Special Representative on Gender Issues;
  • Christopher Smith (United States) as Special Representative on Human Trafficking Issues;
  • Pascal Allizard (France) as Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs;
  • Reinhold Lopatka (Austria) as Special Representative for Parliamentary Dialogue on Ukraine;
  • Askar Shakirov (Kazakhstan) as Special Representative on the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Farah Karimi (Netherlands) as Special Representative on Youth Engagement;

Cederfelt reappointed Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka (Austria) as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism and appointed Vice-Presidents Rt. Hon. Mark Pritchard (United Kingdom) and Pascal Allizard (France) as the new Chairs of the Ad Hoc Committee on Migration and the Sub-Committee on the OSCE PA’s Rules of Procedure and Working Practices, respectively.

 

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