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BiH Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy in Focus of the OSCE Mission Workshop in Konjic

OSCE - Wed, 11/15/2023 - 12:10
557961 Željka Šulc

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in co-operation with the BiH Ministry of Security, convened representatives from the BiH Ministry of Security, entity Civil Protection Administrations, the BiH Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, the Brčko District (BD) Government, international and non-governmental organizations, and the academic community for a workshop on 14 to 16 November, in Konjic. The workshop aimed to facilitate the development of the 2023-2027 BiH Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy (DRR Strategy), in accordance with the BiH Council of Ministers' Conclusion of 9 November, 2022 and with requirements of the global Sendai DRR Framework for 2015-2030.

"The importance of having a DRR Strategy cannot be overstated. Such a strategy aligns with the UN and OSCE security commitments. A robust DRR framework, coupled with enhanced capacities at all levels of authority, is essential to strengthen BiH’s ability to prevent and respond to disasters. It will also enhance the country’s resilience," emphasized Mateusz Lempkowski, Programme Coordinator at the OSCE Mission to BiH.

The work will build upon the outcomes of the initial workshop co-organized by the OSCE Mission to BiH and the BiH Ministry of Security on 19 and 20 June, incorporating its conclusions and recommendations. Participants in the initial workshop were briefed on the requirements stemming from the Sendai Framework, which is recognized as an international obligation for BiH. The workshop delved into discussions on the methodology, structure, procedures, and timeline for the development of the country’s inaugural DRR Strategy, employing cross-sectoral and syndicated work.

Highlighting the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a member of the United Nations and a signatory of the Sendai Framework, the BiH Ministry of Security stated: "The Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sector for Protection and Rescue, through its activities, expresses commitment and readiness in the division of responsibilities at the local, regional, and international levels in the response and management of all types of natural or other disasters."

This workshop is part of a broader set of initiatives undertaken by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina to assist relevant authorities in the country in developing a reliable disaster preparedness and management system in BiH.

Categories: Central Europe

Young people drive innovation in security – OSCE Chairpersonship hosts Youth Forum in Skopje

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 18:10

SKOPJE, 14 November 2023 – Innovative and entrepreneurial solutions for creating a culture of peace, dialogue, justice, trust, and reconciliation were the focus of the Youth Forum organized by the OSCE 2023 Chairpersonship of North Macedonia with the support of the OSCE Secretariat.

The integration of youth perspectives in all three dimensions of security – politico-military, economic and environmental, and the human dimension – is central to the OSCE’s commitment to peace and security in Europe and beyond.

“Youth is a priority for our Chairpersonship of North Macedonia and young people are not merely beneficiaries of our actions; but partners in our mission as OSCE, to promote and uphold our values and principles, and further our role as unique platform for dialogue and a values-based Organization” said OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani. “Nothing evidences better that within the OSCE, youth is not only able to speak up, but their voices are very much heard, and listened to. We genuinely would like to see youth perspectives integrated across OSCE different dimensions and to magnify the involvement of youth in respective OSCE processes. And the road there leads through active dialogue.”

Young people have unique perspectives on security challenges that threaten their future. Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among youth – especially social and green entrepreneurship – is key to addressing growing economic, social, and environmental challenges. This will support inclusive development, bridging inequalities, and creating greater potential for peaceful and prosperous societies.

“Engaging and supporting young people – and working together to shape a better future is a priority for me as the Secretary General. The young entrepreneurs present here today come from different backgrounds and have unique perspectives. Yet they are working to bring their ideas to life in ways that can lead to real transformation for their communities while addressing global challenges.”

The event provided a forum for lively discussions on how young entrepreneurs in the OSCE region are addressing social and environmental security concerns in their communities. It was also an opportunity to develop recommendations that will be presented at the Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje on 30 November to 1 December.

Categories: Central Europe

Women leadership and effective communication focus of OSCE training course in Tashkent

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 16:57
557940 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

The OSCE Transnational Threats Department and the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan delivered a training course on women leadership and effective communication strategies in Tashkent on 8-10 November.

Twenty-seven mid- and senior-level women officers from Uzbekistan’s border security and management agencies sought to advance their careers through developing leadership skills and networking. The training provided tools to communicate with confidence, care, and honesty. Participants engaged in exercises outlining that the unique value they bring to their workplace can be source of self-confidence. They also discussed establishing Customs and Border Services Women Association in Uzbekistan, inspired by successful examples of similar activities in other OSCE participating States, such as neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

“The role of women in the law enforcement sector cannot be overestimated. The establishment of the law enforcement and rule of law sector women's associations in Kyrgyzstan in 2017 proved to be instrumental not only in enlarging female officers’ network but also in strengthening their capacities and confidence. This is why a similar initiative would be helpful in Uzbekistan, too,” said Colonel Kaana Aidarkul, Chairperson of the Kyrgyz association of women in the security sector.

“Every turning point in our lives should be used for self-discovery and discovering our talents. Set and achieve your goals! The path to success really exists,” added Umida Pirmukhamedova, Chief Inspector of the Risk Targeting and Monitoring Department and a focal point on gender issues of the Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The event was implemented in the framework of the OSCE project “Strengthening the resilience of Uzbekistan to address cross-border challenges emanating from Afghanistan”, funded by Germany, Sweden, and the United States. It anticipates delivery of a series of thematic training courses. A gender mainstreaming perspective is integrated in all activities envisaged under the project. A number of follow-up events are envisaged in 2024-2025.

Categories: Central Europe

Statement of the OSCE Mission to BiH following the femicide case in Sarajevo

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 16:31

Sarajevo, 14 November 2023 - We are deeply saddened by the femicide case that occurred in Sarajevo yesterday and we express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

It is devastating that, after Gradačac, Zavidovići, Živinice and Bijeljina and other places in which such horrific incidents have happened, today we must again call for decisive action to prevent femicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This latest murder painfully reminds us that promises, pledges, and commitment mean nothing without immediate and effective action.

The OSCE Mission to BiH once again urges all levels of authorities in BiH to prioritize prevention and combating gender-based violence and respond urgently,  effectively and sensitively. 

Categories: Central Europe

Intercultural dialogue and professional reporting for young journalists focus of OSCE-supported workshop

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 13:54
557913 Marina Živaljević

From 10 to 12 November, a training course on intercultural dialogue and professional reporting standards gathered in Budva 14 young journalists from both prominent media outlets and youth magazines, as well as youth interested in journalism, from across Montenegro. The event was organized by the Regional Youth Co-operation Office (RYCO) Local Branch Office in Montenegro, with the support of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.

In opening the workshop, Edin Koljenović, Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office, said that the training course provided young journalists with the opportunity to grasp the fundamental aspects of professional reporting, intercultural dialogue, media literacy, prejudices, stereotypes, and many more. “Our focus is on elevating the skills of young journalists in media reporting standards, as media plays a crucial role in shaping and advocating for sustainable and inclusive peace,” said Koljenović.

Martin Lulgjuraj, Director of the Directorate for Youth in the Ministry of Sports and Youth, pointed out the key role of RYCO as a mechanism for co-operation among young people in the Western Balkans. “Every opportunity to empower young people is extremely important since their work influences public opinion and contributes to building mutual trust and understanding in our society,” said Lulgjuraj.

Irena Marunović, Senior Programme Assistant in the OSCE Mission, emphasized the importance of young journalists in influencing their peers: “How you act and report affects the way youth from Montenegro, but also Western Balkans creates opinions on different topics. You have an important role in preventing youth from creating stereotypes and prejudices among each other,” said Marunović.

This was the second training course that RYCO and the OSCE Mission organized for young journalists in Montenegro. The first one discussed the role of the media in the regional reconciliation process and took place in December 2022.

Categories: Central Europe

Enhancing Transparency and Accountability: OSCE-supported Information System Showcases Year-Long Impact on Business Entity Inspections in Kyrgyz Republic

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 13:49
557910 Staff of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek at the presentation on the outcomes of the Automated Information System "Registration of Inspections of Business Entities." Chyngyz Zhanybekov Aida Almazbekova

In a significant milestone, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic conducted a comprehensive presentation today on the outcomes of a year-long implementation of the Automated Information System, titled "Registration of Inspections of Business Entities."

Developed in 2022 through a collaborative effort between the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, this innovative system serves as a pivotal platform for recording and managing inspections conducted by law enforcement agencies and tax authorities on the activities of business entities. The initiative aims to eliminate unjustified state interference in business activities, enhance legal protection, create a favorable environment for entrepreneurship and investment, counteract corruption risks during inspections, and reinforce government discipline.

Since its official launch on January 1, 2023, within the Kyrgyz Republic, the system has seen remarkable progress. With user training initiated in December 2022 and ongoing nationwide training, the system currently boasts 1905 registered users and has processed 1812 inspection requests. Continuous enhancements, based on valuable user feedback, and rigorous daily monitoring by the employees of the Prosecutor General’s Office, underscore the commitment to refining the system's capabilities.

Highlighting the collaboration's significance during the presentation, H.E. Mr. Alexey Rogov, the Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, emphasized, "Cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek has always been aimed at achieving justice, protecting the rights and interests of citizens, and strengthening law and order in the Kyrgyz Republic. Today's presentation of the information system is another important step in this direction."

The "Registration of Inspections of Business Entities" system serves as a testament to the dedication of the Kyrgyz Republic and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek to foster a transparent and accountable business environment. As it continues to shape the legal and regulatory landscape, the system exemplifies the power of collaboration and innovation in achieving justice and upholding the rights of citizens.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE launches expert network to support cross-dimensional policy development

OSCE - Tue, 11/14/2023 - 12:36

SKOPJE, 14 November 2023 – The OSCE expert network, which will serve as a point of consultation and dialogue on the three dimensions of the OSCE, was launched in Skopje by the OSCE 2023 Chairpersonship of North Macedonia and the OSCE Secretariat.

Institutes and think tanks that are part of this expanded network will have opportunities to engage with each other and with OSCE officials and participating States on the full range of security challenges facing the region. Whether considering border security or arms control, organized crime and corruption or security implications of climate change, their independent expert analysis and research on various thematic priorities will help inform policy debates within the OSCE.

“The event is entitled ‘Strategic Foresight in a Changing Environment: Perspectives for Cooperation and Security in Europe – Building the OSCE Expert Network’. It is the official kick-off of our expert network, the network of think-tanks gravitating towards the OSCE and its participating States,” said the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani.

“North Macedonia has a unique model of engaging civil society. Our Foreign Ministry promotes and implements an active approach of consultation and co-operation with the think-tank community: a model that represents a formal avenue for consultation and dialogue for policy development, while offering a regular meet-up opportunity between policy-makers and policy researchers. It serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas, data, and analysis and enables a mutual exchange of views and perspectives.”

The two-day inaugural event served as a platform for substantial policy discussion on security-related challenges facing OSCE participating States and on the Organization’s role in European security, as well as on trends and scenarios from across the OSCE region.

“To say that these are challenging times is a profound understatement. But to assume that these challenges have crippled the OSCE, or that they imply our obsolescence, is simply wrong,” noted Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid. “The reality is that the role the OSCE plays is more important than ever. And coming together with external experts to discuss security challenges and the role of the OSCE provides a valuable opportunity to share experience and expertise that can help make our work even more effective.”

Conclusions and recommendations from the event will be provided to OSCE participating States in the run-up to the Ministerial Council meeting taking place in Skopje on 30 November and 1 December.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities visits Norway to gain first-hand insight into the country’s management of diversity

OSCE - Mon, 11/13/2023 - 17:27
557871 OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities OSCE, UN and international experts to debate language policy and conflict prevention at high-level event in Oslo Language Policy and Conflict Prevention The Oslo Recommendations regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov visited Norway from 6 to 10 November 2023.

In Oslo, Abdrakhmanov met Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide to discuss issues pertaining to his mandate, the situation within the OSCE and ways to promote peace and security in the OSCE area. In a meeting with Local Government and Regional Development Minister Erling Sande, the High Commissioner discussed Norway’s initiatives to promote and support the indigenous Sámi and national minorities, including raising intercultural awareness and ensuring funding for programmes.

While in Oslo, the High Commissioner met Norway’s Chair of the Arctic Council, members of Norway’s OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Ombud, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, and the Norwegian National Human Rights Institute, as well as with representatives of the national minorities.

In northern Norway, in Tromsø and Karasjok, the High Commissioner met with the Arctic Council’s Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat, representatives of the Sámi Parliament in Norway and representatives of the Sámi Council, including Sámi youth, as well as health care providers, NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) Sápmi, and civil society organizations.

In both Oslo and northern Norway, the High Commissioner also met representatives of national minorities, as well as the Kvensk Institute, to discuss matters related to diversity governance and social inclusion.

The High Commissioner’s consultations with a number of OSCE participating States over the years have highlighted the importance of ensuring the social and economic participation of national minorities and indigenous peoples, including the nexus between climate change and security as it relates to the HCNM mandate. The High Commissioner has noted that this will likely become increasingly important in the future and therefore merits further attention by the OSCE to ensure peace and security. These discussions are reflected in a recent publication by the office of the High Commissioner entitled Recommendations on the Effective Participation of National Minorities in Social and Economic Life. This link to climate change was discussed with all relevant interlocutors during the High Commissioner’s visit to Norway, where he encouraged the authorities to share their experience on this topic within the OSCE region.

High Commissioner Abdrakhmanov thanked the Foreign Ministry, including Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the OSCE, for organizing and participating in his visit, and expressed his deep appreciation for the warm welcome, good co-operation and excellent support of the officials and authorities, as well as all other interlocutors he met with while in Norway.

Categories: Central Europe

Greater efforts needed to halt alarming rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred, OSCE human rights head says

OSCE - Mon, 11/13/2023 - 14:37

WARSAW, 13 November 2023 – Hate crimes have been rising in many OSCE countries over the last month, severely impacting the security of Jewish and Muslim communities and threatening to undermine the stability of our societies, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said today.

“Jewish and Muslim communities across our region tell us they have never felt so insecure as today, amidst proliferation of hatred and division,” said ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci. “Now more than ever, all those targeted by prejudice and hate need the support of governments and the solidarity of everyone who stands for peaceful coexistence.”

The attacks by Hamas across Israel on 7 October and subsequent violence in the Middle East have unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim discrimination and hate, ranging from online and offline hate speech, through damage to personal property and the desecration of places of worship, to murder threats and even homicide. This upsurge of hate strikes at the heart of our democracies and the values on which they are based. If left unaddressed, hate crimes can lead to further violence and wider-ranging conflict. 

All OSCE countries have committed to combating intolerance, discrimination and hate crime with all the means at their disposal, and it is above all the responsibility of governments to address every hate crime, support affected communities, and to promote tolerance and dialogue in order to ensure peaceful coexistence.

At the same time, ODIHR applauds the efforts of Jewish and Muslim leaders and communities in many parts of the OSCE region who have come together to stem the tide of hatred and division.  Promoting interfaith dialogue and partnership, as well as countering hate crime, are key to ODIHR’s work to strengthen mutual respect and understanding across the OSCE region.

ODIHR continues to offer its expertise and advice to the countries of the OSCE, based on the many tools it has developed over the years. These include practical guides to improve the security of Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as educational tools to address anti-Semitism and intolerance against Muslims. ODIHR also offers specialized hate crime training programmes for police and prosecutors, and regularly brings together communities that find themselves the target of hatred with national law enforcement to address their specific security needs. ODIHR’s most recent data on bias-motivated crimes will be published later this month in its annual hate crime report.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE urges authorities in BiH to ensure integrity and transparency of the 2024 Local Elections

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 18:39
Željka Šulc

Sarajevo, 10 November 2023 - With less than 11 months until the 2024 Local Elections scheduled for next October, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Brian Aggeler, notes that authorities in BiH have so far failed to bring the BiH Election Law in line with international standards and best practices for democratic elections. The necessary amendments have been clearly and repeatedly enumerated and recommended, also after the last general elections held in October 2022, by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), including in its Election Observation Mission Final Report issued in February 2023, and by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission).

The OSCE Mission to BiH urges the responsible authorities to ensure the integrity and transparency of the 2024 Local Elections thus minimizing electoral fraud.  It is the responsibility of the BiH authorities to create the conditions necessary to restore the trust of citizens in the integrity of the electoral process.  This includes the consistent application of procedural safeguards, the secrecy of the vote, and all other measures aimed at preventing electoral corruption, fraud and irregularities.  

We therefore call upon the authorities of BiH to amend the Election Law swiftly and with full respect for international standards, including transparency and inclusiveness. Once appropriately amended, the Election Law must then be implemented properly and equitably.

Furthermore, the OSCE Mission to BiH recognizes the instrumental role played by the Central Election Commission (CEC) in the electoral process and urge all political actors to preserve the independence of the CEC and protect it from political influence or interference. We also warn against any action that could undermine the integrity and impartiality of the CEC and its members.

Categories: Central Europe

Passenger data exchange to counter terrorist travel focus of OSCE-UN seminar

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 16:02
557745 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

The OSCE Transnational Threats Department and United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) delivered the 7th Passenger Data Exchange Seminar as a back-to back event with the 3rd in-person meeting of the Eastern European Informal Working Group on Passenger Data (EE IWG) on 8-10 November 2023.

“In an era marked by global terrorism threats and ever-increasing security challenges, the exchange of Advance Passenger Information between airlines and competent state authorities has taken centre stage in bolstering national security, aviation safety and the protection of state borders. This collaborative endeavour serves as a robust defence mechanism against the movement of foreign terrorist fighters and other potential security risks,” said Marijan Pop-Angelov, representative of the 2023 OSCE Chairpersonship.

The event gathered almost one hundred passenger data experts both in person and online to put into practice the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2396 and identify needs for technical assistance across the EE IWG member states. The resolution aims to prevent the return of foreign terrorist fighters and, to do so, it mandates strengthening border security by establishing passenger data exchange systems, bilateral and multilateral information-sharing as well as collecting Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data.

The experts emphasized the need to establish human rights-focused passenger data legislation as well as technical and financial support in applying it. They also highlighted the benefits of engaging with airlines from the early stage and how to analyse and profile passenger data. IT service providers presented their API/PNR analysis systems.  

This year's event focused on Eastern Europe, with discussions held among IWG member States from the region.

Eastern European Informal Working Group on Passenger Data is a part of the UNOCT Countering Terrorist Travel Programme global initiative. It serves as a forum for technical exchange on methodologies in travellers’ data collection, technologies development, new applications of passenger data frameworks and exploring security analyses across different modes of travel. It currently consists of eighteen member states: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE continues training on digital forensics in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 15:41
557736 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

From 6 to 11 November, the OSCE Transnational Threats Department (TNTD) and the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat delivered the second part of an introductory course on digital forensics for law enforcement representatives from Turkmenistan.

Twenty-two officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Office of the Prosecutor General and the cybersecurity service of the “Turkmenaragatnashyk” Agency, a state organization that participates in the implementation of state policy in the field of communications, space, cyber security, and the digital economy, took part in the course. It was delivered by two international experts from Georgia and Moldova.

“Strengthening capacities to address various cyber-related security risks and threats, including in the field of crime and criminal justice, is becoming a top priority for our partners from various national institutions of Turkmenistan. In recent years, the OSCE Centre has seen a growing demand for capacity-building support in this area,” said William Leaf, Political Officer and Head of Conflict Prevention and Confidence and Security Building at the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“The new computer classroom donated to the Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan last year, as well as the three training courses organized this year, have significantly increased our capacities to provide further training on cybercrime and digital evidence to our officers and investigators,” underlined one of the course participants.

This second part of the course was dedicated to more specific topics such as file systems, databases, Windows registry, log files analysis or mobile devices. It built on the first part of the course, which was delivered to the same group of participants in September and focused on general technical concepts and methods in digital forensics.

The course was delivered under the extra-budgetary project “Capacity Building on Combating Cybercrime in Central Asia”, which is funded by the United States, Germany and the Republic of Korea. This was the third national training event in Turkmenistan under the project. The first course on introduction to cybercrime and digital evidence took place in May.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Engages Kyrgyzstan's Students in Joint Effort Against Drugs

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 13:26
557721 OSCE/ Daniiar Kamalov Chyngyz Zhanybekov Aida Almazbekova On November 10, 2023, within the framework of the implementation of the Anti-Drug Programme by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Service for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoI) of the Kyrgyz Republic, in collaboration with the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, convened a roundtable discussion for students of the Faculty of Law at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. The focal theme of the discussion was "Prevention of Drug Use Among Young People."

Cholpon Tabaldieva, a representative of the Service for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking of the MoI and Shamshybek Mamyrov, national consultant of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, delivered a guest lecture on healthy lifestyle among students to foster an attitude of intolerance towards drugs.

The anticipated outcome of the roundtable is that participating students will acquire knowledge on the adverse effects and repercussions of drug abuse. It is expected that these students will subsequently disseminate this knowledge among their peers. The initiative aims to contribute to the broader awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding drug abuse among the youth.
Categories: Central Europe

Learning by doing - anti-trafficking practitioners across the Baltic Sea region take part in week-long regional simulation training

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 13:05

More than 50 professionals from five countries participated in a week-long simulation-based training exercise on combating trafficking in human beings in Brühl, Germany this week, marking the first such regional training between the OSCE and the Council of Baltic Sea States.

The training, which sought to enhance the capacity of participants to effectively identify and assist victims and prosecute perpetrators, placed particular emphasis on deploying a trauma-informed approach to dealing with victims of trafficking.

The simulation marked the first such event attended by the new OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Dr. Kari Johnstone.

“Since 2015, we've trained over 600 practitioners from 68 countries, and we are seeing increased interest in replicating this format at national and regional levels. Our simulation-based training has continued to evolve to address the ever-changing landscape of human trafficking, and I am excited about the impact we can collectively make in the fight against this heinous crime,” said Dr. Johnstone in her closing remarks.

Practitioners representing law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, social service providers, civil society organizations and asylum agencies from Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, and Sweden engaged in hands-on simulation-based trainings on the most commonly identified forms of trafficking in the Baltic Sea region, including labour exploitation, forced criminality and child trafficking.

Live-action, simulated scenarios helped practitioners identify and investigate complex cases of human trafficking within a fictional world, with its own national laws, standard operating procedures, and profiles of victims and perpetrators.

The Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has successfully implemented 12 national, 1 regional and 6 international simulation-based training exercises so far. They contribute to ongoing efforts to identify and assist victims through a multi-national and cross-sectoral approach.

Enabling transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region to effectively combat trafficking in human beings, a cross-border phenomenon, is one key priority of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

For more information on simulation-based trainings, please visit Simulation-based training | OSCE

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Mission to Montenegro, together with Ministry of Interior, launches a reflection about a reform on high education for police officers

OSCE - Fri, 11/10/2023 - 13:01
557703 Marina Živaljević

On 8 and 9 November, the OSCE Mission to Montenegro and the Ministry of Interior organized an international conference in Budva that brought together representatives from the Ministry, Police Directorate, Police Academy and University of Montenegro. Five higher education institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Serbia and Slovenia were invited and presented their educational models in creating an institution that could grant a university degree for police officers.

One of the premises of the conference was that, while the Police Academy was created in 2006 with OSCE’s support, Montenegro has not yet had a higher education course to equip police officers with specialized education. That has become highly needed especially in the face of the growing use of technologies by criminal groups, and the necessity to expand international co-operation. Participants agreed that there is the need for the Ministry of Interior to conduct a detailed analysis of the different modalities presented at the conference and propose a strategy for the development of a future education institution.

In opening the conference, Head of Mission Dominique Waag said that the OSCE is committed to supporting the Ministry of Interior and Police Directorate. “Higher education in the area of security is an important and evolving field that plays a crucial role in addressing the complex challenges of the modern world that include, cybercrime, trafficking in human beings, environmental crimes and other transnational threats,” said Ambassador Waag.

German Ambassador to Montenegro, Peter Felten, said that Montenegro needs highly qualified police officers that citizens respect and to fulfil the rule-of-law EU accession criteria. “High-quality higher education for the Montenegrin police is, a must. We welcome OSCE’s support to this initiative. German experts stand ready to support Montenegro in establishing its own national higher police education system,” said Ambassador Felten.

Nikola Terzić, Director of the Police Directorate said that quality police education is a necessary element of police reform and key prerequisites for effectively combating all emerging forms of crime, especially organized crime and corruption. Director Terzić added that “the reform of the Montenegrin police is a necessary condition for the rapid accession of Montenegro to the EU.”

Aleksandar Ivanović, advisor in the cabinet of Director of Police Directorate, said that there is no higher education institution in the field of criminology, police and security in Montenegro. “Only with the help of education and science, the police officers will be able to resist modern, sophisticated forms of crime. All conference participants agreed that there is a need for the establishment of such a higher education institution in Montenegro,” said Ivanović.

Iva Vukoslavčević, Director General of the Directorate for Normative Affairs and Police Development in the Ministry of Interior, said that co-operation between the Ministry and the OSCE represents one of the key initiatives in strengthening stability, security and the rule of law. “Through programmes, training courses and initiatives, the OSCE plays an important role in strengthening the capacities and competences of police officers,” said Vukoslavčević.

Along with the participants from the Montenegrin institutions, the conference gathered representatives of the Faculty of Criminalistics, Criminology and Security Studies from Bosnia and Herzegovina, University of Criminology and Public Security from Croatia, Criminal - Police University from Serbia and Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security from Slovenia, while important partners in the project were German Federal Criminal Police Office and Federal University for Public Administration.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE and US OPDAT deliver workshop on advanced regional asset recovery in South-Eastern Europe

OSCE - Thu, 11/09/2023 - 19:42
557688 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

The OSCE Transnational Threats Department, the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and the United States Department of Justice, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (US OPDAT) facilitated an advanced interactive workshop for prosecutors and judges from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia on recovery of illicit assets, including cross-border organized crime cases. Prosecutors and judges from Kosovo also attended.

The participants of the three-day workshop, held in Dubrovnik from 7 to 9 November, exchanged good practices, analyzed challenges related to procedural mechanisms in different jurisdictions, and examined case scenarios. They also discussed third-party interests in seizure and confiscation, conviction and non-conviction-based confiscation, extended confiscation, international co-operation, and seizure and confiscation of virtual assets. Extensive experience in handling seizure and confiscation and illicit asset recovery cases was required of all participants.

Asset recovery is recognized as an effective tool in fighting organized crime and corruption. However, due to the complex nature of transnational organized crime and corruption cases, applying asset recovery provisions can be a challenging task. Discussions among justice practitioners at the regional level are therefore key to strengthen the cross-border co-operation and ensure exchange on any legal novelties and good practices.

The OSCE supported the organization of the regional event under the extra-budgetary project “Strengthening Asset Recovery Efforts in the OSCE Region”, financially supported by Austria, Germany, Italy and the United States. 

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE facilitates workshop on confiscated criminal assets management in Moldova

OSCE - Thu, 11/09/2023 - 13:26
557631 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

How do state agencies effectively manage businesses, real estate, securities, and financial instruments seized from organized crime groups? How do they ensure that their value does not depreciate by the end of lengthy court proceedings, and that they do not become a liability to the seizing authority? These are some of the questions tackled during an OSCE-facilitated workshop on the effective management of seized and confiscated criminal assets that took place in Moldova this week.

The three-day workshop aimed to equip participants with the necessary tools to strengthen their capabilities in asset recovery.

"This activity has contributed toward improving our practical skills in areas that are very important and relevant for us. I am confident that what we learned here will make our work more efficient,” said Alexandru Cernei, Prosecutor at the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Moldova.

The workshop, held from 7 to 9 November 2023 in Chisinau, gathered representatives from the police, the prosecution service, the courts, the State Tax Service, the bailiff’s office and the Criminal Asset Recovery Agency. It was delivered through three sessions covering different phases in asset management: pre-seizure planning, post-seizure handling, and disposal of assets. Each session involved a group exercise. The sessions also highlighted best international practices and solutions to asset management applicable in the Moldovan context.

The workshop was organized within the framework of the extra-budgetary project “Strengthening Asset Recovery Efforts in the OSCE Region”, implemented jointly by the Transnational Threats Department and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, with the financial support of Austria, Germany, Italy and the United States.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE seminar discusses development of small and medium enterprises in the field of agriculture in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Thu, 11/09/2023 - 12:18
557613 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

An OSCE-organized two-day seminar on the development of small and medium enterprises (SMES) in the field of agriculture took place on 8 and 9 November 2023 in Ashgabat.

The event addressed the role of SMEs in the rural development and ensuring food security and highlighted best practices of the OSCE participating States in the introduction of measures and instruments to support agricultural business.

An international expert facilitated discussions on how to promote the development of SMEs in the field of agriculture taking into account its differences from other sectors and shared success stories of the OSCE participating States. Particular attention was paid to E-business and e-commerce tools and the role of women in the agricultural business.

“The OSCE participating States attach great importance to sustaining and further promoting economic connectivity, which requires, inter alia, improved business environment and human capital development, including development of SMEs and promoting women’s economic empowerment,” said William Leaf, Acting Economic and Environmental Officer of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“Furthermore, SMEs could be the biggest source of domestic employment, providing a livelihood for the significant part of the country’s workforce, especially for life in rural areas.”

The seminar brought together representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population, Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, State Institute of Agriculture, commercial banks and other relevant institutions, as well as the Women's Union, Youth Organization and Nature Protection Society of Turkmenistan.

The seminar was organized to contribute to the further elaboration of policies governing the development of the SMEs, introduction of know-how tools for the consequent agricultural business development and promotion of women’s economic empowerment.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE training enhances capacities of participating States in international cyber diplomacy

OSCE - Tue, 11/07/2023 - 16:20
557508 Communication and Media Relations Section David Dadge

On 6 November, the OSCE Transnational Threats Department held in Vienna an international cyber diplomacy training course focused on building national capacities to engage in international cyber policy deliberations.

“The surge in cyber-related discussions within multilateral forums is notable and of paramount importance. These dialogues namely facilitate the exchange of best practices, knowledge, and expertise among nations, enabling them to enhance their cyber resilience and respond effectively to cyber threats. Moreover, the emphasis on cyber capacity building has become more prominent, reflecting the recognition that empowering nations with the necessary skills and resources is fundamental in tackling the cyber challenges that we are facing,” said Christophe Kamp, Chair of the Informal Working Group and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the OSCE.

“Why is it important for all participating States and all UN Member States to engage in international cyber policy discussions? As these grow in frequency and complexity, we are defining the principles which States must observe when engaging in cyberspace. It is therefore crucially important that the voices of all States are represented in these discussions,” added Alena Kupchyna, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats.

Twenty-one delegates from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South Caucasus and Mongolia built capacities to engage in and contribute to UN and OSCE processes on international cyber policy. The training event provided them with opportunities to exchange views with renowned cyber practitioners and diplomats closely involved in these processes.

Participants engaged in practical sessions on how to prepare for international cyber deliberations and presented examples of enabling national governments to deal with international cyber policy.

The training event, organized on the margins of the OSCE’s cyber/ICT security Informal Working Group established by Permanent Council Decision No. 1039, was delivered as part of the “Activities and customized support for the implementation of OSCE cyber/ICT security confidence-building measures” project, with the financial and subject-matter support of the Netherlands.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE seminar addresses financial instruments of securities market in Turkmenistan

OSCE - Tue, 11/07/2023 - 13:46
OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

International standards and best practices of the OSCE participating States in the development and functioning of the effective capital market were presented during an OSCE-organized seminar that took place on 7 November 2023.

International experts focused on the development and functioning of the primary and secondary securities market and provided insights into the procedure of the organization and functioning of exchange electronic trading

“Over the last years, Turkmenistan has been undertaking consistent steps to develop the business and investment climate and promote economic co-operation”, said William Leaf, Acting Economic and Environmental Officer of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“The OSCE Centre stands ready to continue to provide comprehensive advisory and technical support to Turkmenistan in these important areas,” he added.

The seminar elaborated on key actors of the securities market. and their interaction as part of brokerage, registrar, depositary, exchange and regulatory activities. The experts also gave an overview of virtual assets and related money laundering risks.

The seminar was held in a hybrid format and brought together representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan, the Central Bank and Ashgabat Stock Exchange as well as brokers and other stakeholders.  

Earlier this year, the Centre organized an online seminar on capital market development for representatives of relevant institutions and a study tour to Uzbekistan, during which representatives of the Ashgabat Stock Exchange shared practical experiences with their colleagues from the Tashkent Stock Exchange and other participants of the Uzbek capital market.

Categories: Central Europe


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