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OSCE supports awareness raising seminar on Kazakhstan’s new Environmental Code

OSCE - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 14:42

An OSCE-supported awareness-raising seminar on Kazakhstan’s new Environmental Code took place on 8 September 2021. The event was conducted by online format and was attended by some 90 representatives from the Parliament, municipal ecology departments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

This event is the final in a series of three seminars organized by the OSCE Programme Office in Nur-Sultan in partnership with Kazakhstan’s Association of Environmental Organizations. Its goal was to further raise awareness on the regulations of Kazakhstan’s new Environmental Code that was passed in January 2021 and entered into force in July of this year.

The seminar focused on legal aspects of the new regulatory framework, including the principle of public participation, the right of access to environmentally sensitive information, and the polluter pays concept. The participants also discussed aspects of implementing public expertise and obtaining permits for construction.

The event is part of the Programme Office’s long-term effort to promote the “green” economy in the host country as well as sustainable development principles in strengthening environmental security.

Categories: Central Europe

The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organizes a seminar on the benefits of e-business and e-commerce in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Fri, 09/10/2021 - 09:54
497668 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

A two-day seminar on promoting e-business and e-commerce and defining the role of government in elaboration of legislation to promote digitalization was held online on 9 and 10 September 2021.

Representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of Turkmenistan, and other state agencies, commercial banks and private sector participated in the event.

International experts from Kazakhstan and Moldova highlighted current international trends in e-business and e-commerce and presented best practices in developing strategies and legislation to create a favourable e-business environment to attract investment. Experts also outlined regulatory tools and policies for sustainable development of e-business and e-commerce, shared best practices in promoting security of digital markets, and facilitated discussion on opportunities for digital market development in Turkmenistan.

“The introduction of digital systems and technologies into national practices requires the development of effective institutional and legislative mechanisms as well as the consistent improvement of human and institutional capacities,” said William Leaf, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, in its turn, focuses on the development and implementation of digital technologies as one of the topical issues both within the mandate of the Centre and on the national agenda,” added Leaf.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 211/2021 issued on 9 September 2021

OSCE - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 19:20
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the Mission recorded 94 ceasefire violations, including six explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 1,090 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded six ceasefire violations, including four explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 476 ceasefire violation in the region.
  • The Mission followed up on reports of a man injured due to shelling in non-government-controlled Donetsk city.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at SMM’s mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) near non-government-controlled Petrivske, Holmivskyi and in Horlivka, Donetsk region.*
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske and recorded ceasefire violations inside and close to the disengagement area near Petrivske and Zolote.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and repair of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission 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 SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted. Its UAVs again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference. *
Categories: Central Europe

Economic empowerment of women is vital for sustainable and democratic societies, say participants at 2021 OSCE Forum in Prague

OSCE - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 18:09

PRAGUE, 9 September 2021 - Promoting women’s economic empowerment and their access to education, social protection and the labour market, particularly in the post pandemic period, is critical to achieving stability and sustainable development across the OSCE area, said participants today at the opening of the 2021 OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Prague.

“By acting now and working together towards a more sustainable, inclusive and gender-equal development, we have a chance to curb economic and environmental security risks and build more sustainable, peaceful, and democratic societies in the OSCE region,” said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde.

The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek assured that “promoting women’s economic empowerment is one of the priorities of the Czech Republic.” “We constantly strive to increase women’s participation in public life,” he said stressing that any decision-making process “must involve meaningful participation of women at all levels.”

Participants agreed that now is the time to regroup and re-energize to create a more equal, just and sustainable OSCE region, where women and men can equally contribute to the common good and security.

OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid said that gender inequality is persistent in all of our societies. “Women and girls have unrecognized potential because the gender pay gap, career opportunities gap and digital divide still exist.”

She referred to the forthcoming Stockholm Ministerial Council as an opportunity for OSCE participating States to lead by example. “With our post-pandemic recovery plans, governments adopting substantial commitments on women’s economic empowerment would signal our determination to leave no one behind,” said Schmid.

Strengthening gender equality is one of Sweden’s 2021 OSCE Chairpersonship key priorities.

Categories: Central Europe

Strengthening transport security through modernization of customs and transport procedures focus of the OSCE seminar in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 12:46
497518 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

Best practices on modernization of customs and transport procedures as a tool to improve transport management and transport security, especially during emergency situations, were discussed at an OSCE-organized online seminar on 7 and 8 September 2021. Representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Affairs, State Customs Service, State transport agencies and other key ministries and government bodies participated in the event.

The event was organized by the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat and facilitated by two international experts from Georgia and the Russian Federation.  Best practices in the application of digital technologies and intelligent transport systems, harmonization of transport and transit procedures and ensuring sustainable and secure operation of logistic chains during the pandemic period were presented. The experts elaborated on their international experience in the effective use of a ‘single window’ mechanism as a tool for more efficient transport and logistics operations.

“Facilitating cross-border transport is a crucial prerequisite for economic development and security. Moreover, ensuring efficient transport networks, and promoting good governance at border crossing points are vital for states to overcome issues, such as lack of access to the sea and dependence on transit services of neighboring countries,” said William Leaf, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat has been co-operating with the Government of Turkmenistan in transport, trade and other related sectors since 2008 through a number of training events.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Presence in Albania organizes advanced training on complex international narcotics investigations with Albania’s State Police personnel

OSCE - Thu, 09/09/2021 - 10:46

From 7 to 9 September 2021, the OSCE Presence in Albania organized an advanced training programme on “Complex International/Joint Investigations on Drug Trafficking” for sixteen officers of Albania’s State Police’s Anti-Drug Units and Security Academy. The training took place at the Albanian Security Academy in Tirana. The training is the continuation of last year’s drug investigation course organized by the Presence in support of Albania’s State Police to improve international co-operation and tackle organized crime.

The training aimed at enhancing the State Police’s capacities to dismantle organized criminal groups specialized in drug trafficking and to communicate and co-operate with partner law enforcement agencies when conducting complex international/joint investigations, which is vital for a successful fight against the cultivation and trafficking of narcotics.

International experts from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), EUROPOL, Nordic countries’ police forces, Croatian Police, and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC)  engaged participants with scenarios of successful cases of complex international investigations of organized criminal groups dealing with drug trafficking.

Over the last few years, the OSCE Presence in Albania has dedicated around three quarters of its police-related activities to address threats posed by organized crime, enabling the participation of Albania’s State Police officers in conferences and training courses to boost their professional capacities in investigating narcotics-related cases. The Presence will continue to support law enforcement agencies in Albania by building up their capacities and improving their investigative skills in narcotics and organized crime cases.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 210/2021 issued on 8 September 2021

OSCE - Wed, 09/08/2021 - 19:44
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the Mission recorded 1,090 ceasefire violations, including one explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 114 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded 476 ceasefire violations, including 47 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded one ceasefire violation in the region.
  • The Mission corroborated a civilian casualty near non-government-controlled Horlivka, 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 repair of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at five entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM visited a border crossing point outside government control and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation, all in Donetsk region.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced instances of GPS signal interference. *
Categories: Central Europe

Capacity-building initiatives related to cybercrime in focus at OSCE technical briefing

OSCE - Wed, 09/08/2021 - 15:31
497440

Capacity-building initiatives related to fighting cybercrime were the focus of a technical briefing held on 7 September 2021. The briefing was organized online and in-person by the OSCE in close co-operation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Cybercrime Programme Office of the Council of Europe (C-PROC) and INTERPOL.

The aim of the briefing was to provide OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation with up-to-date information about current and future capacity-building initiatives for better addressing cybercrime. It also served as a venue for furthering continued co-ordination and collaboration at the international level.

The OSCE has a mandate to support its participating States in enhancing their criminal justice response to cybercrime, while upholding human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. The Organization focuses on capacity-building for law enforcement, promoting co-operation among participating States and fostering dialogue with the private sector and civil society.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organizes training course on effective communication during health emergencies

OSCE - Wed, 09/08/2021 - 11:59
497428 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

A two-day online training course to support capacity-building of government institutions to engage with the public and media during health emergencies, organized by the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, started on 7 September 2021.

Representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Medical Industry, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Parliament (Mejlis), the Ministry of Defense, the State Customs Service and other key government agencies and national and private media participated in the training course.

International experts from Israel and Kyrgyzstan shared examples from their respective countries to discuss the benefits of developing a single channel of dissemination to promote health related information and avoid disinformation. Other subjects covered include, effective channels for dissemination of information, principles of relations between organizations and mass media, forms of teamwork for interaction between organizations and public through media.

"Following the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, government institutions faced new challenges in addressing complex issues related to the health and well-being of their citizens," said William Leaf, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat. "This is why it is crucial for the public to feel engaged with the government, and a connecting link between the government and the public is mass media".

“Today's event marks an important milestone in our successful co-operation with the host Government, as part of which the Centre has been organizing regular training events for Turkmenistan's journalists and communication specialists of state institutions to develop skills they need to work and communicate with the public in a modern media environment,” Leaf added.

Categories: Central Europe

Austria takes over Chairpersonship of OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation

OSCE - Wed, 09/08/2021 - 09:15

VIENNA, 8 September 2021 — “Trust has to be earned over and over again. Trust is the ‘sine qua non’ for stability and sustainable security in the OSCE region. We therefore need dialogue, co-operation and transparency,” said Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs of Austria, as he opened the Austrian Chairpersonship of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) today in Vienna.

“Shaping the future — this is our mission here in the OSCE. It is up to all of us to live up to the dynamic aspirations of the past decades such as the Helsinki Final Act or the Charter of Paris,” he said. “It is about putting predictability, solution orientation and confidence-building back at the centre of our actions and our thinking as fundamental elements of effective co-operation.”

Launsky-Tieffenthal spoke about the conflicts and crises throughout the OSCE region and underscored how they “urgently require resolution” and an adherence to fundamental OSCE principles and commitments. Describing the negative consequences of conflict, he said, “We would advocate that the spirit of co-operation should always prevail — without masking existing differences. People rightly expect a dialogue that lives up to its name.” 

In efforts to foster trust and transparency, the Austrian FSC Chair’s security dialogues will focus on the core areas of the FSC mandate while weaving in thematic debates, said Launsky-Tieffenthal, recalling the Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship’s motto of ‘Back to basics’. The programme will include topics such as the Framework for Arms Control, the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, military doctrines, small arms and light weapons, conventional ammunition.

Referring to the FSC as “a team of 57 players” flanked by the FSC Troika and OSCE staff, Launsky-Tieffenthal encouraged the participating States to make “an active, constructive contribution toward a willingness to compromise” over the course of the Austrian FSC Chairpersonship. “This is the only way we can be successful together!”

Categories: Central Europe

Weekly Update from the OSCE Observer Mission at Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk based on information as of 7 September 2021

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 16:11

SUMMARY

Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy, Russian Federation. The Observer Mission (OM) continues to operate 24/7 at both Border Crossing Points (BCPs). The overall number of border crossings by persons decreased at both BCPs compared to the previous week. 

OPERATIONAL REMARKS

The OM is currently operating with 22 permanent international Mission members, including the Chief Observer (CO) and a First Responder.[1] The Mission is supported administratively by a staff member and the Chief of Fund Administration based in Vienna.

Update on COVID-19 measures

Activities have been impacted by COVID-19 and measures undertaken by the OM to ensure the safety and duty of care of its Mission members and compliance with measures set by the host country authorities. The Mission is continuing to keep the situation under review, in close contact with the OSCE Secretariat and the Chairpersonship. Following the host country’s recommendations, the observers are adhering to social distancing. Due to the preventive measures taken by the central and regional authorities, the OM is faced with certain difficulties, but is still able to continue to fulfil its mandate without any limitations in its observation and reporting activities. The vaccination process provided by the host country medical system continues on a voluntary basis. To date, 80 per cent of OM staff have now been vaccinated. The OM is fully staffed and operational.

OBSERVATIONS AT THE BORDER CROSSING POINTS

Persons crossing the border

The profile of persons crossing the border can be categorized as follows:

  1. Adults travelling on foot or by car with little or no luggage.
  2. Persons in military-style outfits.
  3. Families (often including elderly persons and/or children) travelling on foot or by car with a significant amount of luggage.

The average number of entries/exits decreased from 10,967 to 9,340 per day at both BCPs compared to last week. During the reporting period, the majority of border crossings were to the Russian Federation, with an average net flow of 260 per day for both BCPs. The Donetsk BCP continued to experience much more traffic than the Gukovo BCP.

Responding to the COVID-19 situation, the host country closed its borders for the majority of foreigners starting from 18 March 2020. Among the exceptions of persons allowed to cross the border (which entered into force on 19 March) are Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons holding passports or identification documents proving permanent residence in certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine. In addition, reportedly, due to the threat of the spread of COVID-19, starting from 10 April 2020, the organized passenger transport commuting between the non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region of Ukraine and the Russian Federation was temporarily suspended and restored from 25 June 2020. Currently, the crossing of people is going on at a quasi-normal level.

Persons in military-style outfits

During the reporting period, the number of persons in military-style outfits crossing the border was two, compared to four last week; one person crossed into the Russian Federation while another one person crossed into Ukraine. These individuals crossed the border on foot.

Families with a significant amount of luggage

The OTs continued to report on families, sometimes with elderly persons and/or children, crossing the border at both BCPs with a significant amount of luggage, or travelling in heavily loaded cars. During this reporting week, two families were observed crossing into the Russian Federation while another two families were observed crossing into Ukraine, compared to the previous reporting period when four families were observed crossing into the Russian Federation and another three into Ukraine.

Bus connections                                         

Regular local and long-distance bus connections continued to operate between Ukraine (mostly from/to the Luhansk region) and the Russian Federation. During the reporting period, the OTs observed a slight increase in the overall number of buses crossing the border at both BCPs (386 compared to 381 observed during the previous week). There were 198 buses bound for the Russian Federation and 188 bound for Ukraine.

On some occasions, the OTs noticed the bus drivers removing the itinerary signs from the windshields of their buses, while some buses did not display their route at all. The majority of long-distance buses commuting between the Luhansk region and cities in the Russian Federation had Ukrainian licence plates issued in the Luhansk region.

Trucks

During the reporting period, the OTs observed a significant decrease in the overall number of trucks crossing the border at both BCPs (636 compared to 797 during the previous reporting week); 326 at the Gukovo BCP and 310 at the Donetsk BCP, 309 of these trucks crossed into the Russian Federation, and 327 crossed into Ukraine. Most of the trucks observed by the OTs had Ukrainian licence plates issued in the Luhansk region; however, on a daily basis, the OTs also noted trucks registered in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, the Russian Federation and trucks with “LPR” and “DPR” plates.

The OTs also continued to observe tanker trucks crossing the border in both directions. During the reporting period, the overall number of tanker trucks crossing the border at both BCPs significantly decreased (19 compared to 37 during the previous week). These trucks were observed crossing the border at both BCPs. The trucks had the words “Propane” and “Flammable” written across the tanks in either Russian or Ukrainian. The majority of tanker trucks had hazard signs, indicating that they were transporting propane or a mix of propane and butane. All trucks underwent systematic inspection by Russian Federation officials, which could include an X-ray check. Due to the unfavorable observation position at the Gukovo BCP, the OTs continued to be unable to observe any X-ray checks.

Compared to the previous week, the total number of X-ray checks at the Donetsk BCP significantly decreased from 193 to 143. Of the total number of all trucks scanned 143 trucks (100 per cent) were bound for Ukraine.

Minivans

The OM continued to observe passenger and cargo minivans[2] crossing the border in both directions at both BCPs. The OTs observed minivans predominantly with Ukrainian licence plates issued in the Luhansk region; however, the OTs also saw minivans registered in the Russian Federation. During the reporting period, the OTs observed a slight decrease in the overall number of minivans crossing the border at both BCPs (144 compared to 147 observed during the previous week); 72 crossed into the Russian Federation and another 72 into Ukraine.

Trains

The OTs continued to pick up the sound of trains on the railway tracks located approximately 150m south-west of the Gukovo BCP. During the reporting week, the OTs heard trains on 24 occasions; the OTs assessed that 13 trains were travelling to the Russian Federation and the remaining 11 trains were travelling to Ukraine (more details are provided in the sections “trends and figures at a glance” below).

Visual observation was not possible because of the line of trees located between the train tracks and the BCP.

Other observations

The majority of vehicles crossing the border had Ukrainian licence plates issued in the Luhansk region or Russian Federation licence plates. A significant number of vehicles with “LPR” plates were also observed crossing the border in both directions on a daily basis. The OTs also observed vehicles with Georgian and Lithuanian licence plates, in addition to “DPR” plates.

On 2 September at 18:25, the OT at the Donetsk BCP observed a traffic police vehicle with flashing lights on, entering the BCP from the Russian Federation and parking in front of the main building. At 19:50 the police car drove back towards the Russian Federation. The OT was unable to notice any other details from its position.

On 3 September at 15:15, the OT at the Donetsk BCP observed four brand new ambulances type “UAZ” with inscription "Urgent Medical Help” (in Russian) entering the BCP from the Russian Federation and parking at the customs control area. After undergoing customs and border procedures, the vehicles left the BCP for Ukraine at 19:45.

For trends and figures at a glance covering the period from 3 August 2021 to 7 September 2021, please see the attachment here.

[1]First responders are OSCE staff or Mission members deployed for a short period of time.

[2]Cargo minivans: light commercial vehicles with a maximum authorized mass of more than 3.5 t and not more than 7.5 t; with or without a trailer with a maximum mass of less than 750 kg (small cargo vehicles that correspond to driving licence C1).

Categories: Central Europe

Prevention and criminalization of domestic violence focus of OSCE- organized roundtable discussions in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 15:41
497332 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

A two-day online event on the prevention and criminalization of domestic violence in Turkmenistan started today on 7 September 2021.  

This roundtable discussion brought together representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office, Ombudsperson’s Office, Women’s Union, Youth Organization and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan. The event provides a platform to exchange best practices in preventing domestic violence against women and allow for discussion on how to further improve the legal framework of criminalization of domestic violence.

“The continued prevalence of gender-based violence is an ongoing acute social problem that damages the lives of women and girls around the world. It is important to emphasize the vital role of law-enforcement officials for early prevention of violence against women and girls and strengthen legislative framework to criminalize gender–based and domestic violence,” said William Leaf, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat. "The Centre will continue to actively support Turkmenistan’s efforts aimed at the implementation of its national frameworks and international obligations in the area of gender equality and human rights," he added.

International experts from Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Bulgaria presented legal and procedural tools from their respective countries and contributed to discussions on current developments and achievements with regard to revision and adoption of legislation criminalizing domestic violence in the OSCE region, including Turkmenistan.

The event organized within the framework of the Centre’s project “Supporting Turkmenistan's Efforts in Preventing and Criminalizing Domestic Violence”.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 209/2021 issued on 7 September 2021

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 15:21
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the Mission recorded 114 ceasefire violations, including three explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 96 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded one ceasefire violation, an explosion. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 31 ceasefire violations in the 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 repair 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 visited two border crossing points outside government control and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation in Donetsk region.
  • The Mission monitored a gathering in Kyiv.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at two checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference. *
Categories: Central Europe

ODIHR opens election observation mission in North Macedonia

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 15:05

SKOPJE, 7 September 2020 – The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today opened an election observation mission (EOM) for the 17 October local elections in North Macedonia, following an invitation from the national authorities.

The mission is led by Tana de Zulueta and consists of a core team of 13 experts based in Skopje and 20 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country from 15 September. ODIHR also plans to request OSCE participating states to send 250 short-term observers, who would arrive several days before election day. 

The mission will assess whether the elections are held in line with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation. Observers will closely examine key aspects of the elections such as voter registration, candidate registration, campaign activities and their financing, the work of the election administration and relevant government bodies, election-related legislation and its implementation, and the resolution of election-related disputes. The mission will also monitor media coverage of the campaign.

Meetings with representatives of state authorities, political parties, civil society, the media and the international community are also planned. The ODIHR mission will co-operate closely with the health authorities of North Macedonia and follow all rules they have established.

An interim report will be published to update the public and media during the course of the observation. ODIHR will present its preliminary findings and conclusions at a press conference the day after the election, and will publish its final report on the observation including potential recommendations approximately two months after the end of the election process.

The ODIHR election observation mission and the OSCE Mission to Skopje operate separately and independently under their respective mandates.

For further information on ODIHR’s election observation activities in North Macedonia, please visit https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/northmacedonia

Media contacts:

Kira Kalinina, Media Analyst:kira.kalinina@odihr.mk or +389 72 443 698

or

Katya Andrusz, ODIHR Spokesperson: katya.andrusz@odihr.pl or +48 609 522 266

Categories: Central Europe

Women’s economic empowerment focus of 2021 OSCE Forum in Prague

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 13:51

VIENNA/PRAGUE, 7 September 2021 — Promoting comprehensive security, stability and sustainable development in the OSCE area through women’s economic empowerment will be the focus of the Concluding Meeting of the 29th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF) on 9 and 10 September 2021 in Prague.

Senior government officials and experts from international organizations, academia and NGOs from the 57 OSCE participating States will discuss how to promote women’s economic empowerment in the post-pandemic period for sustainable development and economic recovery. Particular attention will be given to the efforts to support women’s economic empowerment through policy formulation and implementation.

The Concluding Meeting of the 29th EEF is organized by the 2021 Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

Ann Linde, Chairperson-in-Office, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden, Jakub Kulhánek, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Czech Republic, and Helga Maria Schmid, OSCE Secretary General will open the Forum.

Journalists are invited to cover the opening remarks of keynote speakers on Thursday, 9 September starting at 09:30, which can be followed on https://www.osce.org/live (no registration required).

Following the opening session, the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic will hold a press conference in person at 11:30 with the participation of Chairperson-in-Office Linde and Foreign Minister Kulhánek. For more information please contact: jakub_augusta@mzv.cz

Follow the Forum via @OSCE Twitter, #EEFOSCE.

Categories: Central Europe

23rd OSCE Central Asia Media Conference on Promoting Public Value of the Media in Central Asia in hybrid format in Uzbekistan on 9-10 September

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 11:52

VIENNA, 7 September 2021 – The 23rd annual OSCE Central Asia Media conference, organized by the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, will take place on 9 and 10 September in Uzbekistan, focusing on “Promoting Public Value of the Media in Central Asia”.

The conference will be opened by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Gayrat Fazilov, Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Public Fund for Support and Development of National Mass Media of Uzbekistan Saida Mirziyoyeva, and Senior Project Officer, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan Hans-Ullrich Ihm.

The Conference’s first session focuses on the values, content and strategic dilemmas public service broadcasting faces. The session will also gauge the attitude to public service broadcasting in the Central Asian participating States and Mongolia. During the second session, national experts from the region will present the main media freedom developments in their respective countries since the last regional conference held last year.

Journalists will be able to meet keynote speakers between 10:30 and 10:45 on 9 September. Registration for the press pool is required.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be held in hybrid format, bringing  together approximately 70 participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia, representing government, media, journalists' associations, civil society and academia.

The working languages of the conference will be English and Russian with simultaneous interpretation.

On 10 September at 9:15 am, during a side event,  a panel of speakers consisting of Joanna Lillis, a Kazakhstan-based journalist affiliated with the Guardian, the Economist and EurasiaNet; Nadira Masiumova, a human rights activist and co-ordinator of the Coalition for Equality in Kyrgyzstan; Gulnara Babadjanova, Director of the Training Centre for Journalists in Uzbekistan and moderator, Kristin Olson, Principal Advisor to the RFoM, will present the Russian language version of the #SOFJO Resource Guide.

This #SOFJO Resource Guide provides a series of proposed actions for ten key stakeholder groups to address gender-based online abuse of female journalists, as online harassment and abuse against women journalists has become a major hazard to the journalistic profession, with a variety of negative effects for societies. The Guide identifies a concrete way forward, and provides a list of useful resources and examples of existing measures and good practices.

The event will take place online: https://www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/496426. A detailed agenda in English and Russian, biographies of speakers and other documents related to the conference can be accessed on the same website. (The link to the Zoom webinar https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_F2fOdfz2TZGf7ll4LUmkGw.)

For media registration, please, contact Elena Cherniavska: elena.cherniavska@osce.org, +43 676 4241 502.

For information on the side event, please contact Julia Haas: Julia.haas@osce.org.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission to Montenegro provides Agency for Electronic Media with expert assistance on PR crisis and public speaking

OSCE - Tue, 09/07/2021 - 10:13
497278 Marina Živaljević

Starting from 6 September 2021 for two-months, Amela Odobašić, Head of Public Affairs at the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will work on further improving of PR crisis skills and public speaking with the Agency for Electronic Media. The activity is part of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro’s support to the Agency, the independent regulatory body for audio-visual media services in Montenegro.  

The OSCE Mission to Montenegro, responding to the Agency’s request to support its communications team, selected Ms. Odobašić, following a competitive process, to assist in developing a communications crisis action plan and provide training courses on public speaking. Development of crisis communication skills will include analysis of several crisis scenarios and role plays. Social media outreach, comments on social media accounts and how to deal with gender stereotypes and interact with public, will also be part of the training courses.

Siv-Katrine Leirtroe, Acting Head of the Mission, said that Agency’s constructive and informative communication with media outlets is key for proper implementation of its oversight function. “This activity will strengthen the trust of the media and the public in this institution. This activity is just one in a series that the Mission is carrying out with the Agency, our long-term partner,” said Leirtroe.

Elvira Ceković, Head of Public Relations and General Affairs at the Agency, emphasized that this activity aimed at improving capacities of the Agency to handle negative publicity and build stronger links with the media and the public.

The Mission will continue to support the Agency in its efforts to strengthen the capacities, enhance the trust and the communication with the media and the public.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 208/2021 issued on 6 September 2021

OSCE - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 20:51
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, from the evenings of 3 to 5 September, the Mission recorded 172 ceasefire violations, including 11 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 48 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, from the evenings of 3 to 5 September, the SMM recorded 38 ceasefire violations, including seven explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 34 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The Mission corroborated a civilian casualty in non-government-controlled Staromykhailivka, Donetsk region.
  • The SMM followed up on damage to a civilian property in government-controlled Avdiivka, Donetsk region.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at SMM’s mini-unmanned aerial vehicles on three occasions near non-government-controlled Vasylivka, Nyzhnie Lozove and Yakovlivka, Donetsk region.*
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations inside the disengagement area near Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and repair of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at five entry-exit checkpoints and two corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM visited a border crossing point outside government control and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation in Donetsk region.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference. *
Categories: Central Europe

Taking the combat against trafficking in persons in Kyrgyzstan to the next level

OSCE - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 17:25
497173

An OSCE-organized week-long live simulation exercise on how to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking started in Issyk-Kul province, Kyrgyzstan on 6 September 2021. More than 70 professionals from law enforcement agencies including the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Prosecutor General's Office, civil society organizations, independent experts and representatives of social services are taking part in the event.

Delivered for the first time in Kyrgyzstan, this pioneering training exercise offers front-line responders the opportunity to simulate real-life anti-trafficking responses using actors to recreate trafficking scenarios. Infrastructure has been re-created to simulate cases of labour and sexual exploitation of men, women and children.

Kyrgyzstan is a country of origin, transit and destination for persons who fall victim to human trafficking. Some challenges facing Kyrgyzstan are a widespread impunity for traffickers and lack of effective prosecution. Additionally, the country has a high level of internal trafficking in human beings and exploitation in labor on construction sites and farms, and sexual exploitation. Trafficking in persons remains largely a hidden phenomenon, with only a few cases per year resulting in identification of victims and prosecution of traffickers. Preventing and combating trafficking remains complicated by the lack of a single co-ordinating body.

Jyldyz Bakashova, Deputy Chairperson of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, said in her welcome speech:  “This new format of exercises developed by the OSCE allows to test the national referral mechanism, the system of protection and assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings and to develop recommendations based on identified shortcomings.” She highlighted the notable contribution by the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek and other international partners in the fight against human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan.

The simulation-based exercise is based on the methodology developed by the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, and is part of its roll-out programme at the national level.

In his opening remarks, Alexey Rogov,  Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek highlighted an innovative nature of the training programme developed for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, social service workers and non-governmental organizations, which enables the simulation exercise in real time format.

The live simulation exercise is carried out as part of the Programme Office’s ongoing efforts in assisting the host country to combat human trafficking and better identify and assist victims of human trafficking through a new co-ordinated approach.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission to Montenegro provides country’s police with specialized equipment

OSCE - Mon, 09/06/2021 - 16:56
497209 Marina Živaljević

To support the Police Directorate and the police Forensic Centre in fighting against organized and transnational crime, the OSCE Mission to Montenegro donated specialized equipment and software to the country’s police on 6 September 2021 in Podgorica.

The Mission procured mobile equipment for the detection of weapons and explosives that will be used directly for crime scenes, a high-capacity digital evidence analysis workstation and a device for testing mobile phones, tablets and other small electronic devices. The equipment also includes software licenses to recover digital evidence from multiple sources, and audio-video recording equipment which will ensure that an accurate record of witness and suspect statements is obtained for use by investigators of the Special Police Department.

Siv-Katrine Leirtroe, Acting Head of the Mission, said that the donation is another proof of the Mission’s commitment to support the Police Directorate in its efforts to fight serious and organized crime, as well as cyber and cyber-enabled crimes. “Equipment to detect weapons and explosives, along with specialized training on its use, should increase the capacities of the police to combat misuse and trafficking in weapons and explosives and enhance public safety in Montenegro. This equipment is part of the Mission’s efforts to support implementing the Strategy for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons,” said Leirtroe.

Zoran Brđanin, Director of the Police Directorate said that because of the close co-operation with the Mission, the Police Directorate has enhanced their capacities to fight organized crime. He remarked that the donation will strengthen the police capacities for more efficient work. “The OSCE Mission to Montenegro is a strong partner to the Police Directorate in the reform process. Your support in priority areas and our joint projects confirm the strategic partnership,” said Brđanin.

Leirtroe and Brđanin agreed to continue close co-operation and implementation of joint activities to help support the Police Directorate and the Forensic Centre reach its strategic objectives. Moreover, the Mission and Dragica Vučinić, the Mission’s National Security and Co-operation Officer, received plaques in recognition for their longstanding and successful co-operation and support to the police.

The donation is a continuation of the Mission’s efforts to enhance both technical and strategic capacities of the Police Directorate, aimed at preventing and combatting serious and organized crime, while ensuring the full respect of human rights.

Categories: Central Europe

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