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OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 129/2021 issued on 5 June 2021

OSCE - Sat, 06/05/2021 - 19:03
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 83 ceasefire violations, including 16 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 79 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 141 ceasefire violations, including nine explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded no ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of a man injured due to an explosion of an object in Zhovte, Luhansk region.
  • The Mission saw damage to four civilian properties and a functional school in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations inside the area near Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and four corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a checkpoint of the armed formations near Shevchenko, Donetsk region, and a functional school in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk region.
Categories: Central Europe

Televised “confessions” further example of widespread rights violations in Belarus, OSCE human rights head says

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 18:38

WARSAW, 4 June 2021 — The televised “confessions” of independent journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega, his partner, raise further concerns regarding the Belarus authorities’ failure to meet obligations to respect the right to a fair trial and the absolute prohibition of torture in the wave of arrests since last August’s presidential election, says the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

“The recently broadcast footage with Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega is deeply disturbing, violates their right to fair trial and may be a sign that they were coerced or tortured, which is prohibited under international law. As the actions to date make it impossible for Pratasevich and Sapega to receive a fair trial, I call for their release as an immediate remedy,” said Matteo Mecacci, ODIHR Director.

OSCE participating States have explicitly and unequivocally pledged to uphold the right to a fair trial and the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and committed to strive for its elimination. At the 27th OSCE Ministerial Council in Tirana in 2020, OSCE participating States committed to abandon and refrain from the use of interrogation techniques that constitute torture and other ill-treatment, including to obtain a confession. 

The Belarusian authorities should investigate credible allegations that Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega have been subjected to torture or other prohibited treatment. Any attempt to include the “confessions” as evidence in court proceedings against them, would further erode the legality of a trial.

The video-recorded confessions themselves as well as broadcasts shortly after their arrest following the diversion of a civilian plane to Minsk by the Belarusian authorities, seriously affect their right to presumption of innocence and to effective legal assistance, both essential components of the right to fair trial.

Thousands of Belarusian citizens have been detained, sentenced, imprisoned and subjected to other forms of harassment while exercising their rights, as the authorities clamped down on peaceful protests following Presidential elections in August 2020. Among them are numerous journalists and human rights defenders, targeted for their reporting of human rights violations.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative saddened by tragic death of Azerbaijani journalists Ibrahimov and Abishov

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 17:47

VIENNA, 4 June 2021 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, expressed today her deep concern and sadness over the death of correspondent Maharram Ibrahimov (Alioghlu) and camera operator Siraj Abishov.

According to reports, both journalists, who worked for Azerbaijan State News Agency (Azertag) and Azerbaijan Television (AzTV), respectively, died today while on duty as a result of a landmine explosion in the Kalbajar district. Other persons, including film director of AzTV Emin Mammadov, have reportedly received injuries.

“The tragic death of Maharram Ibrahimov and Siraj Abishov is terrible news and I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to their relatives and colleagues,” Ribeiro said.

Ribeiro noted that the law enforcement agencies have launched an investigation into the case and expressed hope that it will ensure full accountability for the journalists’ death.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan supports youth crime prevention

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 17:25
488545

The launch of the project “Assistance in the Crime Prevention Among Children and Youth” at the juvenile colony for boys, supported by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan (PCUz), took place on 2 June 2021.

The project aims to enhance the national capacity to promote effective methods of crime prevention among youth by strengthening social integration and imparting legal basics about criminal law, gender sensitivity and children and youth rights.

Children and young people in custody come with complex needs and issues. Being left to fend for themselves, they often have no positive role model and tend to be in need for emotional, mental and physical support. Thus, the OSCE PCUz collaborates with the Child Rights Ombudsperson to offer opportunities for activities such as sport, music, theatre and vocational education.

During the visit, the OSCE PCUz and the Child Rights Ombudsperson were acquainted with the conditions in the colony and donated football uniforms to inmates.

Aliya Yunusova, the Child Rights Ombudsperson, addressed the colony’s inmates: “I am often asked how many children do I have and I say that all children in Uzbekistan are my children. Wherever you are, if your rights are violated, the Child Rights Ombudsperson is always ready to listen to you. You can send your appeals through Ombudsperson boxes or through the head of the colony. A hotline for children will also be introduced in the coming days to enable any child to call on their problems day and night.”

Mathieu Lemoine, Human Dimension Senior Project Officer, who attended the launch event said that the project’s activities are meant to be creative, constructive and future-focused. “Our goal is to help you to fulfil your potential and make a positive contribution to society.”

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 128/2021 issued on 4 June 2021

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 14:23
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 79 ceasefire violations, including four explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded three ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded no ceasefire violations. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 357 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • In the past weeks, the Mission spotted extensions to existing trenches on both sides of the contact line in Donetsk region and in a government-controlled area of Luhansk region.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM monitored a public gathering in Lviv.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted.*
Categories: Central Europe

Joint Statement by the mediators and the observers in the Permanent Conference on Political Issues in the Framework of the Negotiation Process on the Transdniestrian Settlement in the 5+2 format following their 3-4 June 2021 visit to Chisinau and Tiraspol

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 11:06

CHISINAU, 4 June 2021 — The mediators and observers in the Permanent Conference on Political Issues in the Framework of the Negotiation Process on the Transdniestrian Settlement in the 5+2 format visited Chisinau and Tiraspol on 3-4 June 2021 for talks with the Moldovan and Transdniestrian leaderships.

During their visit, the mediators and observers met in Chisinau with Moldovan President, Maia Sandu, Acting Prime Minister, Aureliu Ciocoi, as well as Acting Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration and Chief Negotiator, Olga Cebotari. In Tiraspol, they met with Transdniestrian leader, Vadim Krasnoselsky, and Chief Negotiator, Vitaly Ignatiev.

The mediators and observers welcomed the dialogue between both Sides on the level of political representatives and joint expert working groups; the enhanced co-ordination and interaction of the Sides in addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the distribution of vaccines; as well as the recent steps taken towards the restoration of freedom of movement between both banks.

At the same time, they underlined the need for a continued, intensive and constructive dialogue aimed at further strengthening the dynamic in the settlement process. In this respect, they encouraged the Sides to address, as a matter of priority, outstanding technical and practical issues with respect to the joint registration of vehicles from Transdniestria.

The mediators and observers urged the Sides to work towards the full and continuous implementation of the “Berlin-plus” package and encouraged them to develop, based on the progress made in this respect, joint proposals on further confidence-building measures as well as to intensify their dialogue on and efforts with regard to the protection of human rights.

The mediators and observers welcomed in this respect the readiness of both Sides to work towards holding a result-oriented meeting in the 5+2 format in Stockholm this autumn. The mediators and observers further welcomed the readiness of both Sides to address selected priority issues from the joint expert working groups in a retreat in Bavaria, Germany to be organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova by the end of this year.

Talks in the 5+2 format include representatives of the Sides: Moldova and Transdniestria, the mediators from the OSCE, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, as well as the observers from the European Union and the United States of America.

Categories: Central Europe

On World Environment Day, OSCE Mission to Serbia notes progress made and highlights need to strengthen engaged dialogue to advance sustainable development policies

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 09:39

BELGRADE, 4 June 2021– On the occasion of World Environment Day, Jan Braathu, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, underlines the connection between environmental sustainability, economic growth and good governance.

“Environmental protection has received increased public attention as the impact of pollution on health and well-being becomes increasingly visible,” said Braathu. “Circular economy and environmental sustainability are rapidly becoming the new standard across Europe, offering combined benefits of economic growth and improved public health.  Environmentally aware policies across all sectors have become a hallmark of good governance.”

Braathu said that the new package of environmental laws, adopted this year by the Serbian National Assembly, supports low-carbon energy solutions. “The forthcoming investments in environmental infrastructure provide an excellent opportunity to advance economic development and create green jobs,” he said.

“We commend the collaborative efforts among business associations, government institutions and civil society in developing policy models that are resilient to future risks by integrating environmental, economic and social considerations. These actions will lead to improved quality of life and enhance security for all citizens.”

The OSCE Mission to Serbia through its programmes remains dedicated to supporting the efforts of both state institutions and civil-society organizations in working towards the advancement of environmental standards and achieving sustainable development.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE promotes social re-use of confiscated assets in Montenegro

OSCE - Fri, 06/04/2021 - 09:24

The OSCE organized an online workshop on the social re-use of confiscated criminal assets in Montenegro on 3 June 2021. The workshop brought together representatives from civil society organizations, law enforcement and the Cadastre and State Property Administration of Montenegro.

The workshop aimed to reinforce the importance of asset re-use for social purposes among government agencies and civil society and to discuss the role of civil society in the fight against organized crime and corruption.

The event was organized in the framework of an OSCE extra-budgetary initiative on asset recovery in South-Eastern Europe led by the OSCE Transnational Threats Department and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

During the workshop, national and international experts discussed Montenegro’s legislative framework related to asset recovery, provisions that might allow for the social re-use of assets, and possible revisions of the framework to enable more efficient management and re-use of assets. Experts and representatives of international and regional civil society organizations shared good practices on the re-use of criminal assets for social purposes.

The event is part of a series of national workshops on social re-use organized in five South-Eastern European countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia), which are beneficiaries of the OSCE initiative on asset recovery. The donors of the cross-dimensional project are the United States Department of State, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Categories: Central Europe

Members of Parliament in Uzbekistan discuss strengthening parliamentary financial oversight of the security sector at OSCE workshop

OSCE - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 16:20
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The role of Parliament in budgetary and financial security-sector oversight in Uzbekistan was discussed in an interactive workshop in Tashkent on 3 June 2021. Twenty members of the Oliy Majlis (parliament) participated in the event, including committee chairpersons and their deputies as well as members and support staff from the Legislative Chamber and the Senate.

At the request by the Parliament of Uzbekistan, the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre organized the event, in a blended format, jointly with the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan. This workshop followed up on a first event for newly elected members of Parliament, which took place in October 2020 and was supported by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

“Financial oversight is a key instrument for ensuring that funds allocated to public institutions, including in the security sector, are spent in a transparent, efficient and accountable manner. The passing of the Parliamentary Oversight Act of Uzbekistan from 2016 shows that Uzbekistan is taking decisive steps towards advancing transparency and accountability by means of parliamentary oversight,” said Pierre von Arx, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan.

Participants discussed the main principles and actors of financial oversight in the security sector, the role of parliament in different phases of budget cycle, the use of parliamentary powers and tools for financial oversight as well as oversight of security-related procurement. The workshop highlighted not only relevant international standards, but also included a number of interactive exercises and group discussions tailored to the local context.

Dilorom Fayzieva, Chairperson of the Committee on International Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, said, “Budgetary oversight is becoming one of the important components of parliamentary activity in Uzbekistan. Both chambers of the Oliy Majlis pay great attention to deepening co-operation with international organizations that promote inter-parliamentary interactions and the exchange of experiences and good practices with other national parliaments.”

The event was implemented through the OSCE extra-budgetary project “Support, capacity-building and awareness-raising for Security Sector Governance and Reform within the OSCE: Phase II”, supported financially by Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 127/2021 issued on 3 June 2021

OSCE - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 15:16
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded three ceasefire violations, including an explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 59 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 357 ceasefire violations, including 32 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 167 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske and heard multiple ceasefire violations close to the area near Zolote.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a checkpoint of the armed formations near Bessarabka in southern Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

ODIHR opens election observation mission in Moldova

OSCE - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 08:49

CHISINAU, 3 June 2021 – The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today opened an election observation mission for the 11 July early parliamentary elections in Moldova, following an invitation from the national authorities.

The mission is led by Tamas Meszerics and consists of a core team of 11 experts based in Chisinau and 28 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country from 10 June. In addition, ODIHR is planning to request 200 short-term observers from OSCE countries, to arrive several days before election day.

The mission will assess the early parliamentary elections for their compliance with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation.

Observers will closely monitor all aspects of the election, including pre- and post-election developments. Specific areas of focus include the implementation of changes to the legal framework, candidate registration, and campaign activities, as well as election dispute resolution and media coverage. They will also assess the implementation of previous ODIHR election recommendations.

Meetings with representatives of state authorities, political parties, civil society, the media and the international community, as well as with candidates, will take place throughout the observation.

On election day, the ODIHR mission will join efforts with delegations from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to observe the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results.  

An interim report will be published to update the public and the media on the observation mission’s activities. The day after the election, the mission’s preliminary findings will be presented at a press conference. ODIHR will publish a final report on the observation approximately eight weeks after the end of the electoral process.

The ODIHR election observation mission and the OSCE Mission to Moldova operate independently under their separate mandates.

Katya Andrusz, ODIHR spokesperson: Katya.Andrusz@odihr.pl or +48 609 522 266

Elma Sehalic, Media Analyst with the Election Observation Mission: elma.sehalic@odihr.md or +373 69980277

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls on authorities to urgently find sustainable funding for Slovenia’s public press agency

OSCE - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 19:12

VIENNA, 2 June 2021 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, today expressed her concern about the ongoing suspension of public funding for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA).

According to reports, the STA has had its financing suspended by the Slovenian Government Communication Office (UKOM) for more than four months over a contractual dispute. This is reportedly the second time that the STA has been subjected to funding cuts for its public services by UKOM since the end of last year.

“The repeated suspension places the STA in a precarious state of limbo, threatening the very existence and operational stability of it as an essential public good in delivering reliable, pluralistic and quality information in a democratic society,” Ribeiro said. “I urge the authorities of Slovenia to reach a sustainable solution and reinstate funding, as prescribed by law, without further delay, to enable the STA to continue its important work.”

Ribeiro said that she will continue to follow closely related developments in the country and reiterated the great importance of the independence of, and adequate funding for, public service media, ensuring implementation of OSCE commitments regarding media freedom.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 126/2021 issued on 2 June 2021

OSCE - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 16:54
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 59 ceasefire violations, including two explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 49 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 167 ceasefire violations, including 21 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 42 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • A man and a woman were injured due to detonations of explosive objects near Horlivka, Donetsk region.
  • The SMM lost spatial control of its mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near government-controlled Trokhizbenka, Luhansk region.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. Its UAVs spotted people inside the disengagement area near Zolote during the daytime.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission observed a fresh impact crater near Pivnichne, Donetsk region.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at three entry-exit checkpoints and the corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Luhansk region.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a border crossing point outside government control near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk), Luhansk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media urges immediate and unconditional release of all detained journalists in Belarus

OSCE - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 16:24

VIENNA, 2 June 2021 — The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, urged today the public authorities in Belarus to free all journalists and other media workers who have been sentenced, arrested or detained in the country. Most of these journalists were apprehended for their reporting on public events and other political developments in the country.

“This systematic clampdown on journalists and media workers is a gross violation of the OSCE commitments related to freedom of expression and media freedom, voluntary undertaken by Belarus as an OSCE participating State,” Ribeiro wrote in a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makey, requesting the immediate and unconditional release of all journalists and media workers, who have been recently imprisoned, arrested or detained in Belarus.

Ribeiro referred to the recently arrested editor of Telegram channel “Belarus golovnogo mozga,” Raman Pratasevich, and to dozens of other journalists and media professionals, including the ones on a list compiled by the Belarusian Association of Journalists: https://baj.by/en/analytics/repressions-against-journalists-belarus-2021-chart

The OSCE Representative on Media Freedom further stated that these repressive measures have a chilling effect, by deterring others from continuing their work without fear of reprisal, lead to self-censorship, and affect the ability of independent media to provide information to the public. “Freedom to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority regardless of frontiers, including through foreign media, is paramount for a democratic society and is one of the basic conditions for its progress and development,” Ribeiro said.

The Representative noted the reports that some of those journalists behind bars had their human rights infringed, including through arbitrary surveillance techniques, beatings, denial of timely legal or consular aid, by forced testimonials of guilt, targeted “leaks” and smear campaigns undermining integrity of their work. “All recent cases of violence by the police against independent media workers in the country have to be fully investigated,” she said. “It is urgently needed that the Belarusian authorities put an end to the current climate of impunity regarding violence against journalists.”

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

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Centre supports modernization of journalism education through introduction of new curricula

OSCE - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 13:59
488323 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organized a two-day seminar on modernizing journalism education and presented recommendations for a new Master’s programme in digital journalism and one in political communication. They were developed as part of the Centre’s projects in Ashgabat “Support in strengthening journalism education and capacity-building of journalists”.

The event took place on 1 and 2 June 2021.Participants were representatives from journalism faculties of the Institute of International Relations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the Institute of State, Law and Democracy, Magtymguly State University, the International University for Humanities and Development, Turkmen State Institute of Physical Education and Sport, as well as specialists and members from the Ministry of Education, Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan and national media.

International experts from the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation developed and presented recommendations for the Master’s programmes based on the best international practices of OSCE participating States.

“The two subjects are important aspects of the modern media environment. As we know, the practice of journalism is in transition. Ever evolving digital and networked communication technologies combined with the stagnation and decline of many traditional mass media has had a profound impact on the way the journalism works,” stated John MacGregor, Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

He also added: “Political communication is also vital, as they help politicians run for office develop policies and legislation for the social good, educate the general public on socio-political issues, and promote greater participation in democracy.”

“It is my firm belief that these Master programmes will contribute to the emergence of new generation of professionals in Turkmenistan equipped with the state-of-the-art knowledge and skills, which will enable them to efficiently work in the modern professional environment,” said MacGregor.

Recommendations outlined the structure of the courses covering the benefits to the economy and the future of journalism and communication, length of the course as per international standards, objectives, learning outcomes, topics to cover, credit allocations, tests and exams and student exchange programmes as well as the best methods of teaching based on international best practice.

Categories: Central Europe

Role of law enforcement officials vital to prevent torture, say participants at dedicated conference

OSCE - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 11:41
488299 Public Affairs Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Katya Andrusz

The crucial role played by the police and other law enforcement officials in serving their communities and preventing torture and other ill-treatment of people in the criminal justice system is the focus of a dedicated conference today.

Despite the timely reaffirmation by OSCE countries last year to prevent and eradicate torture and other ill-treatment, the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment continues to be practiced in criminal justice systems across the region. The prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment forms part of customary international law. Violating this prohibition is a grave breach of human rights - and a crime under - international law  and counterproductive to national security interests.

“There is now consistent evidence that coercive interviewing techniques are ineffective,” said Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). “They often lead to false confessions rather than holding the real perpetrators to account.”

At the same time, a recent joint publication by ODIHR and Fair Trials highlighted that there may be incentives for law enforcement officials to use torture or other ill-treatment in order to obtain confessions as evidence to lead to convictions. Confession-based justice systems, along with other factors like performance quotas based on arrests and impunity, can become incentives to police and other law enforcement officials to resort to the use of torture.

Today’s conference, which brings together representatives of countries from around the OSCE region, international and regional institutions, and civil society organizations specialized in torture prevention,  gives participants the opportunity to share promising practices that can reduce incentives to use torture.

"The turn-around operation — from confession-orientated interrogations to investigative interviewing — requires a change of mindset,” said Asbjørn Rachlew, Police Superintendent in Oslo. “We need to teach our detectives to think differently. We need to provide them with knowledge and methodology that stimulates them to generate alternative hypotheses AND actively test them, rather than pursuing information, confirming their belief of guilt.” 

Participants will discuss the importance of an institutional culture in the police based on human rights and gender sensitivity, both to prevent torture and to ensure that any perpetrators are swiftly held accountable. All professionals in the criminal justice system therefore need to receive appropriate training on the identification, reporting and prevention of torture and other ill-treatment, including training on the Istanbul Protocol.

Conclusions and recommendations on the best means of eliminating incentives for torture in criminal justice systems and increasing the positive role of law enforcement officials can play in combating torture and ill-treatment will feed into the OSCE’s ongoing work to prevent torture.

The conference was organized by the Permanent Representation of Denmark and the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to the OSCE, with the support of the OSCE 2021 Swedish Chairpersonship and ODIHR.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE launches EU-funded sustained field operational course for Tajikistan’s Border Troops in Khorog

OSCE - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 18:33

The OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe launched a four-week course in Khorog to enhance the professional capacities of Tajikistan’s Border Troops to effectively react to emerging threats that occur in border areas. The opening ceremony took place on 1 June 2021 with participation of high-level representatives from Tajikistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tajikistan’s Border Troops and the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe.

Thirty-one border officers of the Special Border Unit will refresh their skills in topography, first-aid related to battlefield injuries, tactical patrolling, radio communications, national border regulations, gender awareness, risk assessment, patrol report writing and survival techniques specific to summer and winter. Mountaineering or alpine training will also be included in the course. Tactical patrolling modules will include lessons on national legislation and international human rights commitments pertaining to the rights and treatment of detainees and refugees.

Valeriu Chiveri, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe opened the event and highlighted that the project is implemented in line with Tajikistan’s National Strategy for Border Management for 2010–2025. “Course modules focus both on theory of conducting border operations and practical exercises. I hope that this approach will help refresh the knowledge the Tajik Border Troop officers already have, and that it will allow them to successfully apply it to their day-to-day work,” Chiveri said.

Colonel Pahlavi Vosiev, Deputy Head of the Border Troops Department of the State National Security Committee of the Republic of Tajikistan for GBAO said: “The Tajik Border Troops highly appreciate the contribution of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe in the field of border stabilization and security. We have heard positive feedback about the Stabilization of Tajikistan's southern border region within the Afghanistan Project. For the Badakhshan region, such courses are relevant, since the military and political situation in Afghanistan changes daily and it is felt on our border.”     

This training course is part of a project funded through the European Union’s Foreign Policy Instrument. The project aims to increase the professional capacity of both Tajikistan’s Border Troops and Afghan Border Services to better tackle illicit activities in border areas.

The OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe is organizing the training in co-operation with Tajikistan’s Border Troops.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 125/2021 issued on 1 June 2021

OSCE - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 16:53
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 49 ceasefire violations, including 21 explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 56 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 42 ceasefire violations, including two explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded nine ceasefire violations in the region.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. Its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) spotted people inside the disengagement areas near Zolote and Petrivske during daytime.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and the corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM monitored a gathering in Kyiv in front of the Office of the President of Ukraine.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at two checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region. Its UAVs again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe conducts awareness-raising session on role of youth against corruption

OSCE - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 16:04
488119

On 29 May 2021, the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe in co-operation with the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan conducted an awareness-raising session on the role of youth against corruption. The session was delivered for students of the Faculty of Diplomacy and Politics of the Academy who specialize in international relations.

Some 20 students participated in the event which aimed to increase their awareness of the negative consequences of corruption and their role in combating it. The session focused on the definition and types of corruption, how to combat corruption and role of youth in tackling it.

“The active role of young people in the prevention of corruption is a crucial precondition for a sustainable future and the development of Tajikistan,” said Filippo Crivellaro, Head of the Economic and Environmental Department at the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe. “As the future of this country, youth is a very powerful actor in educating people about the negative consequences of corruption, building integrity, accountability and transparency in the public system.”

Zayniddin Saidmukhtorov, Head of the International Relations Department at the Faculty of Diplomacy and Politics of the Academy of Public Administration said: “I would like to thank the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe for their continued support to the Academy for organizing a session on corruption issues for students, bearing in mind the importance of this topic for the future leaders of the country.”

Categories: Central Europe

Election observers to Moldova’s early parliamentary elections to hold press conference on Thursday

OSCE - Tue, 06/01/2021 - 15:53

CHISINAU, 1 June 2021 – Observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will hold a press conference on the opening of the observation mission to the early parliamentary election in Moldova on Wednesday, 3 June.

NB. Due to social distancing requirements, only 40 journalists will be able to attend the press conference in person, while all others will have the opportunity to watch and ask questions via zoom. Broadcast media wishing to film the press conference will be prioritized for personal attendance.

What:

  • An introduction to the role of the ODIHR election observation mission and its planned activities
  • The press conference can be attended in person or via Zoom (details below)

Who:

  • Tamas Meszerics, Head of the ODIHR Election Observation Mission

When:

  • 15.00 local time (GMT +3) on 3 June 2021

Where:

Courtyard by Marriott, Strada Arborilor 21/A, Chisinau

Registration:

  • No registration is necessary if you are attending the press conference in person, but only questions from journalists will be taken
  • To take part via Zoom, please register with: Katya Andrusz, ODIHR spokesperson, katya.andrusz@odihr.pl and Elma Sehalic, media analyst: elma.sehalic@odihr.md or +373 69980277

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

Categories: Central Europe

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