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Members of the international community support reconciliation efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Maglaj municipality

OSCE - Mon, 07/26/2021 - 14:29

SARAJEVO, 26 July 2021 - The OSCE Mission to BiH, the Office of the High Representative, the EU Delegation to BiH, the Embassy of the United States of America, and the Embassy of Sweden strongly support the relocation of a destroyed armoured personnel carrier in the Maglaj municipality, which has recently been made into a monument to fallen soldiers and civilians of the Ulišnjak local community.

Representatives of the Government of Zenica-Doboj Canton, Maglaj Municipality, MZ Ulišnjak, and war veterans associations in the Maglaj municipality jointly reached this important decision.

This decisive step represents another example of the Maglaj municipality playing a positive role in advancing post-war reconciliation in Maglaj and beyond. Most notably, authorities have agreed to honour the fallen while carefully avoiding polarizing elements, thereby ensuring that mutual respect and trust are maintained in the community.

Such leadership is exactly what is needed for a stable and prosperous future of BiH. The international community will continue supporting those who take meaningful steps to advance reconciliation and promote mutual understanding.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission to Montenegro supports parliamentary staff in developing project proposals

OSCE - Mon, 07/26/2021 - 13:59
493723 Marina Živaljević

The OSCE Mission to Montenegro organized a training course on drafting European Union project proposals for 13 staff members of the Parliament of Montenegro from 6 to 8 July and 20 to 22 July 2021 in Podgorica.

As the Parliament has not applied for any EU twinning projects so far, which aims to strengthen a specific field of research through institutional networking, the Parliament’s office of the Secretary General identified the need to improve the drafting skills of parliamentary staff members in developing EU twinning project proposals. The Mission provided expertise and tools to staff on how to prepare project proposals that effectively address the needs of the Parliament.

Through practical exercises, guided by experts Goran Đurović and Ana Novaković, participants learned about the EU project cycle management, discussed problem analysis, and developed a logical framework matrix based on goals and strategies. This training course provided the basis to create proposals to engage expertise and knowledge transfer from parliaments of EU member states to improve the efficiency and quality of the work of the Parliament of Montenegro.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission in Kosovo to present fifth assessment report on community rights

OSCE - Mon, 07/26/2021 - 12:58

PRISHTINË/PRIŠTINA, 26 July 2021 – The OSCE Mission in Kosovo will present tomorrow the fifth edition of its Community Rights Assessment Report in Prishtinë/Priština.

The report assesses the progress made by Kosovo institutions in relation to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in the areas of inter-community dialogue, security and justice, language, education, returns, socio-economic rights, culture and media.

Significant developments since June 2015, when the fourth reporting period ended, are included in the current edition, along with a set of conclusions on the progress made in promoting and protecting the rights of members of communities in Kosovo, in line with the obligations of the Framework Convention.

Ambassador Michael Davenport, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and Deputy Prime Minister Emilija Redžepi will deliver opening remarks, followed by a presentation of the report and a Q&A session.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend the event on Tuesday, 27 July 2021, at Emerald Hotel in Prishtinë/Priština, starting at 11:00. 

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 171/2021 issued on 24 July 2021

OSCE - Sat, 07/24/2021 - 19:04
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 26 ceasefire violations, including one explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 102 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 58 ceasefire violations, including one explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded one ceasefire violation in the region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and maintenance of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and the corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation in Luhansk region.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at four checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

Underwater security focus of OSCE training for border service divers in Aktau

OSCE - Fri, 07/23/2021 - 16:25
Richard Wheeler

A three-week training course on underwater security for divers of the Committee for National Security’s Border Service concluded on 23 July 2021 in Aktau, Kazakhstan.

The three-week training course aimed to enhance the professional capacity of the Border Service’s Coast Guard in countering transnational threats in an underwater environment. A certified national diver-instructor familiarized the group of twenty two Coast Guard divers with general regulations and international and national standards of diving, specifics of underwater activities in different water environments, and personal safety features during diving operations at different depths.

Participants performed a variety of practical exercises in closed (pool) and open water (sea). Participants were also instructed on the proper use of different types of diving gear and equipment: autonomous diving gear with an open breathing system (aqualung) and an air control system with a special diving helmet.  

“The result of the training was the acquisition of new professional skills of divers of the Border Service of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which will undoubtedly strengthen border security in the underwater environment and increase the general level of countering transnational threats in the sea,” said the diver-instructor, Anton Cherepanov.

Mukhtar Yeleuov, Head of Division for Support of Ships and other vessels of the Department of the Border Guard Service in Mangistau Region said: “Diving is a new and promising area in the activities of the Border Guard Service of the Committee for National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which solves a wide range of tasks, such as the protection of the state border in the underwater environment.”

The event is part of the Programme Office’s multi-year efforts to enhance the capacity of Kazakhstan’s Border Service to increase border security and management, and to counter transnational threats.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 170/2021 issued on 23 July 2021

OSCE - Fri, 07/23/2021 - 16:16
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 102 ceasefire violations, including 12 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 98 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded one ceasefire violation – an explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 20 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM saw damage due to small-arms fire to inhabited apartment in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk region.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at Mission’s mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) on two occasions near government-controlled Starohnativka, Donetsk region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to a localized ceasefire to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at three entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission visited two border crossing points outside government control in Donetsk region, and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at six checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region. Its UAVs again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE supports training webinar on anti-corruption expertise of legal acts

OSCE - Fri, 07/23/2021 - 14:23

An OSCE-supported half-day online training webinar on elimination of corruption-related norms from draft laws concluded on 23 July 2021. The OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan organized the event in partnership with Kazakhstan’s Anti-corruption Agency (ACA).

Some 15 representatives, including seven men and eight women, from the ACA, academic institutions and civil organizations attended the event. Anti-corruption expertise, one of many mechanisms to curb corruption in public and private sectors, covers the identification of corruption risks that may occur when implementing customs/tax policies, establishing procedures for procurement tenders and granting exclusive benefits to certain business entities.

Participants discussed aspects of drafting regulatory acts, risk categories in reference to linguistic formulations, legislative coherence, and access to information.

The training webinar is part of the Programme Office’s multi-year efforts to promote good governance by focusing on anti-corruption activities in Kazakhstan.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE supports strategic analysis course in Kazakhstan

OSCE - Fri, 07/23/2021 - 10:25
493606

An OSCE-supported four-day Egmont Group course on strategic analysis concluded on 23 July 2021 in Nur-Sultan.

Some 20 representatives from the Financial Monitoring Agency (FMA) attended the event conducted by two international experts from Slovenia and Moldova in a blended format. During the six-module course, the FMA employees learned about key concepts of strategic analysis, structural analytical approaches and the stages of its development. Experts shared practical examples on applying methodological approaches towards analysis, and processing information provided by competent public authorities and reporting entities.

The Egmont Group is a united body of 166 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) that provides a platform for exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering/terrorism financing in line with the resolutions and statements of the United Nations Security Council, the G20 Finance Ministers, and the Financial Action Task Force. International standards provide the framework for FIUs around the world.

The OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan organized the event in co-operation with the FMA as part of the Office’s multi-year efforts to promote good governance and advance the host country’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism system in compliance with Financial Action Task Force standards.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media denounces continued crackdown on freedom of expression and media freedom in Belarus

OSCE - Thu, 07/22/2021 - 19:06

VIENNA, 22 July 2021 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro denounced today the continued massive violations of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom in Belarus, after recent cases of harassment and intimidation of media and journalists in the country.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), over the past two weeks, over 60 searches were carried out by Belarusian law enforcement representatives in the editorial offices and apartments of media workers in Minsk, Brest, Gomel, Vitebsk and other regions of the country. The searches were conducted on various alleged grounds, including terrorism, mass riots, and gross violation of public order. Equipment was seized and many journalists detained.  

Reportedly, there are at least 30 people currently in custody, who contribute to and work for media outlets and media NGOs, including Tut.by, Nasha Niva, Tribuna.com, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Press-Club, and Belsat.

On 14 July, law enforcement representatives also broke-in and searched the office of the BAJ. This is the second time the premises of the journalists’ association were searched since the beginning of the year (see earlier statement: https://www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/478693). Since then, the Ministry of Justice has reportedly asked the Supreme Court to close the BAJ for repeated violations of the law, while the authorities have frozen the organization’s bank accounts. 

“The continued harassment of media and journalists in retaliation for their work shows yet again the deliberate intention to stomp out open debate and any views on issues of concern to citizens that are critical of the authorities,” Ribeiro said. “I reiterate my call to immediately and unconditionally release all media workers and to fully implement all OSCE commitments and the country’s international obligations related to freedom of expression and media freedom.”

During the past several months, the Representative has addressed the deteriorating media freedom situation in Belarus on several occasions: on 16 February 2021, 18 February 2021, 17 May 2021, 18 May 2021,  2 June 2021 and 24 June 2021.

Last week, during her official visit to Ukraine, Ribeiro also met with a group of Belarusian journalists, who had to relocate to Ukraine due to fear of persecution in their own country.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 169/2021 issued on 22 July 2021

OSCE - Thu, 07/22/2021 - 19:03
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 98 ceasefire violations, including seven explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 40 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 20 ceasefire violations, including 19 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded two ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at five entry-exit checkpoints and four corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission visited a border crossing point outside government control in Donetsk region.
  • The SMM monitored two gatherings in Kyiv.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at six checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission launches EU-funded regional project on trial monitoring of organized crime and corruption in Kosovo

OSCE - Thu, 07/22/2021 - 12:55
Jeff Bieley Edita Buçaj

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the European Union Office in Kosovo organized an online event on 21 July 2021 to launch a three-year EU funded regional project on Supporting a More Effective Administration of Justice in Corruption and Organized Crime Cases in the Western Balkans through Trial Monitoring”. Representatives of civil society organizations and journalists attended.

The project aims to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo by supporting effective processing of organized crime and corruption cases. Verifiable data about the administration of justice related to organized crime and corruption will be obtained, processed and analysed to define systemic problems and address recommendations. Results will be made public in late 2023.

This regional project originates from an agreement reached at the Sofia Summit in 2018 to introduce trial monitoring in corruption and organized crime. The Mission joins other OSCE field operations in Tirana, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Skopje in participating in the project, in close co-ordination with European Union Delegations.

Representatives of the EU Office in Kosovo and the Mission recognized the important role of the civil society and the media – who are stakeholders in this project – in providing oversight on the work of the judiciary, and valued close co-operation towards the common goal of strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo.

More details about the project can be found here: https://www.osce.org/node/490442

Categories: Central Europe

Press Statement of Special Representative Grau after the regular Meeting of Trilateral Contact Group on 21 July 2021

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 23:39

KYIV, 21 July 2021 – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Heidi Grau, made the following statement to the press after the regular meetings of the TCG ‎and its Working Groups held through video conferencing:

“On the eve of the first anniversary of the agreement regarding additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire I would like to recall that, for several months, there has been considerable stabilization of the ceasefire along the line of contact as a result of this agreement. This is a proof that a comprehensive cessation of fire can be achieved provided that the sides demonstrate the necessary political will.

However, I have to note that the security situation continued to deteriorate over the recent months: in particular, the territory around the disengagement area near Zolote is turning into a hotspot. In addition, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission continues to record an increase in the use of heavy weapons.

Once again, the participants in the Security Working Group focused their attention primarily on wider conceptual issues. Repetition of well-known positions does not allow us to reach practical solutions.

Pending procedural issues again prevented the Political Working Group from holding a formal session. During the informal consultations, it was not possible to find a constructive solution and resume the work by overcoming political disagreements and to fulfil the tasks given by the TCG.

Participants in the Humanitarian Working Group exchanged updated lists of persons they are looking for. Besides, they discussed the "procedural clearance" of those already released. Once again, no progress was achieved regarding the full operation of new crossing points in Zolote and Shchastia of the Luhansk region. The last part of the discussion was devoted to the topic of missing persons.

The Economic Working Group discussed a wide range of themes: water supplies, pension payments as well as IAEA inspection in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Special attention was again paid to environmental issues. In particular, it was possible to advance discussions as regards the establishment of an expert group to investigate the situation in the flooded mines along the line of contact.

As Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, I chaired my last meeting today. I would like to express an enormous gratitude to the Working Group Co-ordinators as well as to all of my colleagues in the TCG. Also, I would like to thank my entire staff for their great contribution to our common work. 

My successor, Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen, will take up his post on 1 August. I wish him a productive and successful tenure.”

Categories: Central Europe

Discussing the role of independent National Rapporteurs in enhancing States’ anti-trafficking responses

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 18:43
493507

The OSCE held an expert roundtable discussion on the role of independent National Rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms in enhancing States’ anti-trafficking responses on 21 July 2021.  The event was organized in partnership with the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Experts from all across the OSCE area were invited to share their experiences and discuss the role of independent National Rapporteurs in enhancing States’ anti-trafficking responses.

The event highlighted how National Anti-trafficking Rapporteurs are one of the three main pillars of a strong, transparent and efficient State anti-trafficking architecture, together with multi-agency Task Forces and National Co-ordinators. Participants underscored the importance of establishing a National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism to ensure data collection, as well as research and analysis of the trafficking situation and hidden trends in a State. Reports from the National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism should be used to revise, adapt and re-target national anti-trafficking practices and policies and improve legislation and operations. Existence of such a mechanism was identified as a key means to improve the effectiveness of an anti-trafficking policy and practice.

OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey and UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton opened the meeting and led the discussions. Participants included Siobhán Mullally, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Tomoya Obokata, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, and National Rapporteurs from across the OSCE area.

“I recommend that States establish an independent National Rapporteur or an equivalent mechanism as part of their anti-trafficking framework and ensure clear delineation and complementarity of the roles and responsibilities with the National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinators,” said Valiant Richey. The activities of a National Rapporteur should be appropriately resourced and can be instrumental in revising and improving States’ anti-trafficking frameworks and operations.”

Dame Sara Thornton said: “In my role as Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, I have a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery and human trafficking offences, as set out in the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The independent nature of the role is central to the efficacy of the office, and I always endeavour to listen carefully and to take an evidence- and data-based approach. This event provided a significant opportunity to foster international engagement, discuss common challenges and promulgate good practice as we work towards a common goal.”

Highlights from the discussion will be compiled in a report and will serve as a basis for policy recommendations to OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 168/2021 issued on 21 July 2021

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 18:04
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 40 ceasefire violations, including 12 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 86 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded two ceasefire violations. In the previous reporting period, it recorded four ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM observed recent damage to a civilian property in Olenivka, Donetsk region.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and repairs of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk region and at a railway station outside government control near the border with the Russian Federation in Luhansk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

Armenia holds last meeting as Chair of OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 16:32

VIENNA, 21 July 2021 — Under the motto, ‘rebuilding trust and confidence through implementation of politico-military commitments’, the Armenian FSC Chairmanship has sought to implement and protect OSCE commitments to prevent further erosion of European Security, said Armen Papikyan, the Chair of the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), during his remarks at the last FSC meeting under the Armenian FSC Chairmanship.

“We assumed the Chairmanship following a year when peace and security were challenged in the OSCE area of responsibility,” Papikyan said.  “Over the past three months we made significant efforts to promote the Forum as a key platform for a meaningful, genuine and open dialogue by discussing issues of major concern.”  

He provided an overview of the activities organized by Armenia since it took over the FSC Chairmanship in April. These included nine security dialogues that addressed a range of topics including compliance with international humanitarian law, United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1540 and 1325, the challenges of new generation warfare, arms control and disarmament, transparency in military exercises, small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition, and preventing and combating terrorism in all forms.

Outlining challenges faced during the FSC Chairmanship, Papikyan described a “fragmentation” of the OSCE area and European security and “a disproportional attention towards different conflict and crisis situations in the OSCE area”. He also noted the erosive effect of an increase in disagreements among participating States on the conventional arms control regime and confidence- and security-building measures. “Deliberations in the FSC during the Armenian Chairmanship showed that these factors continued to challenge the security and stability in the OSCE area,” he added.

He commended the participating States of the Forum for reaching consensus on key issues during the Armenian FSC Chairmanship. He also recognized their engaging discussions during the Tenth Annual Discussion on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, which was organized by the Armenian FSC Chair.

Sharing a vision for rebuilding trust and confidence in the future, Papikyan called for a “genuine dialogue in the spirit of Helsinki”, for renewing respect for shared OSCE principles and commitments and for reinvigorating co-operation.

“No matter how important OSCE political military commitments and obligations may look on paper, they cannot ensure security and confidence without the political will of the participating States,” he said. “Current security crises demand not words but actions. Commitments are a means to an end and not an end in itself. They are the reflection of the political will of participating States to address security challenges.”

Papikyan closed the session by thanking the Swedish 2021 OSCE Chairpersonship, the FSC Troika and OSCE staff for their support and reaffirmed Armenia’s readiness to work closely with Austria as the incoming FSC Chairmanship.
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media concludes visit to Ukraine

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 15:16

On 16 July 2021, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, concluded an official three-day visit to Ukraine.

Ribeiro met several Ukrainian governmental authorities, including Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba; Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova; and Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy Taras Shevchenko.

Ribeiro also met with Olha Herasymiuk, Chairperson of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting and several of her colleagues; with Head of the Supervisory Board of the Public Broadcasting Company Svitlana Ostapa, and Chairperson of the Public Broadcasting Company Mykola Chernotitsky; and with journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations. The Representative also met with Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine Steen Nørlov, and Deputy Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission Benjamin Moreau.

Ribeiro and her counterparts discussed, among other things, issues related to the safety of journalists, including in non-government-controlled areas; the government’s efforts aimed at countering disinformation and propaganda; the development of, and challenges faced by, the public broadcasting company; the regulatory framework for broadcast media; and prospects for advancing media self-regulation.

Ribeiro expressed her readiness to provide necessary assistance and support to Ukraine in line with her mandate, relevant international standards and OSCE commitments on media freedom and freedom of expression.

The Representative also participated in a high-level panel discussion ‘Building Resilience to Information Influence: Freedom of Speech as a Component of Information Security’, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (see full speech). She spoke at the opening of the event together with the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Emine Dzhaparova.

In separate meetings, Ribeiro met with members of diplomatic missions of participating States in Ukraine, which are part of informal OSCE Group of Friends on Safety of Journalists, as well as with a group of Belarusian journalists, who had to relocate to Ukraine due to fear of persecution in their own country.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media: “Participating States should not use spyware against journalists”

OSCE - Wed, 07/21/2021 - 15:08

VIENNA, 21 July 2021 — OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro expressed today her profound concern about the reported usage of surveillance-software against journalists. She called upon all participating States to refrain from using such tools and techniques against media workers and to protect journalists from the use of such software against them by third parties.

According to a recent exposé by a global consortium of media publications — including The Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde — surveillance software has been widely used to infiltrate communication devices of journalists and other media workers. “The use of such tools against journalists is incompatible with the principles we agreed upon in the OSCE region,” Ribeiro said. “It has a profoundly chilling effect on the work of journalists and stifles media freedom.”

The Representative referred to the 2018 Ministerial Council Decision on the Safety of Journalists, where the participating States agreed to “refrain from employing unlawful or arbitrary surveillance techniques, noting that such acts infringe on the journalists’ enjoyment of human rights, and could put them at potential risk of violence and threats to their safety”.

Ribeiro added that the use of spyware endangers the principle that journalists must be able to protect their sources in order to carry out safely their important democratic function. “Already in 1989, in their Third Follow-up Meeting to the Helsinki Conference, the participating States recognized the importance of respecting the journalistic principle of professional confidentiality.”

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

Categories: Central Europe

Conference of States Parties to the Open Skies Treaty discusses Russian Federation's intent to withdraw from the Treaty

OSCE - Tue, 07/20/2021 - 18:34

VIENNA, 20 July 2021 — Canada and Hungary, as the two Depositaries of the Treaty on Open Skies, signed in Helsinki on 24 March 1992, have convened a Conference of States Parties in accordance with Article XV Paragraph 3 of the Treaty. The organization of this Conference became necessary following the receipt of the notification of intent to withdraw from the Treaty by the Russian Federation on 18 June 2021.  

Due to the restrictions introduced to mitigate the COVID-19 situation worldwide, the Conference was organized as a video-teleconference. The online event brought together 183 representatives and experts of the 33 States Parties from the different ministries of foreign affairs, ministries of defence, arms control organizations and Vienna-based delegations.

As stipulated by the Treaty, the Conference was intended to provide States Parties with the opportunity to share views on the effect of the withdrawal of the Russian Federation on the Treaty. The Delegations discussed, inter alia, the overall impact on operational functionality of the Treaty, the impact on the allocation of observation quotas and on financial arrangements within the Treaty, and other potential effects on the Treaty.

The discussion was extensive with 28 States Parties to the Treaty offering a broad range of views on several key topics pertaining to the effect of the decision by the Russian Federation to withdraw from the Treaty.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Border Management Staff College completes its 29th Staff Course for Women Leaders

OSCE - Tue, 07/20/2021 - 16:51
493384 Nuriya Sherzodova

The OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC) completed its 29th Staff Course for Women Leaders on 19 July 2021. The course was convened via video teleconferencing.

Twenty-three mid-to-senior level female officers from border security agencies, such as narcotics control, border police, customs, took part in the course. Participants represented Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Spain, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

“We invited only female officers as an effort to balance the gender equality in the security sector, especially in the border management institutions,” said Valeriu Chiveri, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe, who highlighted the importance of the course.

The four-week course included seven modules that presented the OSCE’s approach to efficient border security and management and covered topics including border security and management models, transnational threats, risk assessment, cybersecurity, trafficking in human beings, trade facilitation integrity, and anti-corruption. The course also provided multinational and inter-agency networking opportunities for the participants. 

Preyanuch Leuhatong, Director of the Narcotics Control Board in the Foreign Affairs Bureau of Thailand, and a graduate of the course, said that she found the acquired knowledge particularly useful for her leadership role, and plans to apply the skill she gained in risk management and cybersecurity to her organization.

A roundtable discussion on border security and management during the COVID-19 pandemic was also organized as part of the curriculum. In addition, the participants complemented the course by conducting presentations on experiences and best practices of their countries and agencies in countering various cross-border threats.

The BMSC launched its pilot Staff Course for Women Leaders in May 2014 and continues offering the all-women course once a year.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 167/2021 issued on 20 July 2021

OSCE - Tue, 07/20/2021 - 16:32
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 86 ceasefire violations, including eight explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 275 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded four ceasefire violations, including two explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 11 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM saw recent damage to two apartments, of which one inhabited, in non-government-controlled Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk region.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and four corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a checkpoint of the armed formations in Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

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