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OSCE-supported Annual Anti-Terrorism Experts Meeting in Issyk-Kul focused on preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism

OSCE - Fri, 08/20/2021 - 09:23
OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek Kunduz Rysbek

The Eighth Annual Anti-Terrorism Experts Meeting, organized by the Anti-Terrorist Center under the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, and the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit/Transnational Threats Department, was held from 18 to 21 August 2021 in Issyk-Kul.

The meeting brought together 48 national and international experts, including representatives of relevant ministries, law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor’s office, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The meeting was held in a hybrid format.

The meeting facilitated an open discussion on various aspects related to preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (P/C VERLT), following a multi-dimensional approach in which respect for human rights and the rule of law is an integral part of security.

Experts shared key aspects, challenges and measures taken by state agencies working in the counter-terrorism field in line with the international legal and policy framework. The meeting aimed at exchanging good practices on the necessary conditions for effective international co-operation and on how Kyrgyzstan can best involve all national stakeholders to prevent and respond to terrorism and violent extremism.

The Annual Anti-Terrorism Experts Meeting is a platform, which provides regular opportunities to share experiences and discussions on all aspects of preventing and countering terrorism among all national partners involved. The Meeting is the result of ongoing contact between the Anti-Terrorist Centre under the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan and the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, with the OSCE Transnational Threats Department contributing to this setting for the second time since 2018.

Categories: Central Europe

Countering religious hatred is critical to restore COVID-worn democracy and security, says OSCE human rights head

OSCE - Fri, 08/20/2021 - 08:46

WARSAW, 20 August 2021 – Governments need to work harder to protect victims of religious hate crimes, and consistently condemn and prosecute all bias-motivated crimes, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said ahead of the third anniversary of the United Nations International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion.

“Covid-19 has caused untold suffering throughout our societies, but we have been seeing intolerance and hatred increasing specifically against people belonging to religious or belief groups since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci. “Not only does this have a hugely negative impact on individuals and communities, but it also erodes democracy, respect for human rights, and security more broadly. More education and awareness-raising are needed to increase understanding of the right to religious freedom and to counter discrimination and hatred.”

The level of government restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic has varied across the OSCE region, with some communities able to take part in more of their regular activities and others facing direct or indirect discrimination as a result of the measures. Beyond access to places of worship or home gatherings, restrictions to counter the spread of the pandemic have made it more difficult for many communities to mark important stages of life, religious holidays, and in this difficult time, also death.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many religious communities have found themselves scapegoated and blamed for spreading the virus. These accusations are the new faces of old narratives, compounding long-standing biases that have given rise to increasing levels of online hate speech as well as physical hate crimes. The targeting of individuals based on clothing associated with a specific religion or belief or attendance of religious community meetings has left many wary of displaying their religious or belief identity for fear of attack.

Throughout the pandemic, ODIHR has continued to support countries across the OSCE in their efforts to counter hate crimes that target specific religious or belief communities, examining some of the greatest challenges in its publication OSCE Human Dimension Commitments and State Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic. As a fundamental human right, freedom of religion or belief encompasses the right of each individual to have, adopt, change or leave a religion or belief. At its core is the understanding that diversity of opinion exists in every society, and that respecting our differences is the only way for us to live together peacefully.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 193/2021 issued on 19 August 2021

OSCE - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 22:23
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 160 ceasefire violations, including 24 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 165 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 475 ceasefire violations, including 149 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded five ceasefire violations.
  • Man killed due to shelling in government-controlled Novoselivka Druha, Donetsk region.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded multiple ceasefire violations close to the disengagement area near Zolote and inside and in the vicinity of the disengagement area near Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and repairs to 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 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 instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

Canine service of Ukraine’s border guards receive equipment from OSCE to better combat smuggling of weapons, ammunition and explosives

OSCE - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 15:33
495817

The OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine handed over specialized equipment to support the canine units of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (SBGS) at an official ceremony held in Kyiv on 19 August 2021.

The package of donated equipment included canine trailers with field kennels and harnesses with leashes. The equipment will help the SBGS use dogs to counter illicit trafficking in weapons, ammunition and explosives (WAE) at border crossing points and certain segments of the state’s border.

“The crucial role of the canine service in combating transnational organized crime, be it to combat drug trafficking or illicit trafficking of WAE, goes without saying. We hope that the equipment we handed over to SBGS today will increase efficiency of its canine units and their operations,” said Henrik Villadsen, the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.

SBGS carries out a wide range of activities and deals with a wide range of national and international threats, said Serhii Serdiuk, Deputy Head of SBGS. “We are sincerely grateful to our international partners for their continuous support of the SBGS. The OSCE Project is an example of a large-scale, joint approach to tackling illicit trafficking in prohibited items. It focuses not only on providing border guards with equipment, but also on the training programme and international cooperation.”

Procurement and donation of the equipment was carried out within the OSCE project, Supporting the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in Preventing and Combating Illicit Trafficking in Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives.

In addition to equipment donations, this project also assists the Ukrainian border agency in exploring best international practices, as well as in developing and improving training programmes for SBGS staff, including the canine service, for combating illicit trafficking in WAE.

The project is part of the OSCE’s Comprehensive Programme aimed at strengthening the capacities of Ukrainian authorities in preventing and combating all aspects of illicit trafficking in WAE. The programme is financed and supported by in-kind contributions by the European Union, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and the United States of America.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 192/2021 issued on 18 August 2021

OSCE - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 22:08
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 165 ceasefire violations, including three explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 139 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded five ceasefire violations. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 445 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations close to the disengagement area near Zolote and inside the disengagement area near Petrivske.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation and repairs to 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 SMM monitored a gathering in Kyiv.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 191/2021 issued on 17 August 2021

OSCE - Tue, 08/17/2021 - 23:04
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 139 ceasefire violations, including seven explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 119 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 445 ceasefire violations, including 77 explosions. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 114 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations close to the disengagement area near Zolote and inside the disengagement area near Petrivske.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and the corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

Weekly Update from the OSCE Observer Mission at Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk based on information as of 17 August 2021

OSCE - Tue, 08/17/2021 - 09:55

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 increased 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 increased from 10,112 to 10,832 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 87 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 seven, compared to five last week; three persons crossed into the Russian Federation while four persons 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, three families were observed crossing into the Russian Federation while another three families were observed crossing into Ukraine, compared to the previous reporting period when no families were observed neither crossing into the Russian Federation nor 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 decrease in the overall number of buses crossing the border at both BCPs (411 compared to 415 observed during the previous week). There were 201 buses bound for the Russian Federation and 210 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 decrease in the overall number of trucks crossing the border at both BCPs (655 compared to 709 during the previous reporting week); 393 at the Gukovo BCP and 262 at the Donetsk BCP, 373 of these trucks crossed into the Russian Federation, and 282 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, 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 slightly increased (42 compared to 39 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 unfavourable 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 slightly increased from 153 to 160. Of the total number of trucks scanned all 160 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 increase in the overall number of minivans crossing the border at both BCPs (137 compared to 130 observed during the previous week); 67 crossed into the Russian Federation and another 70 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 25 occasions; the OTs assessed that 14 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 licence plates and “DPR” plates too.

On 12 August at 06:23 (Moscow time), the hundredth[3] Russian convoy arrived at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point (BCP). A total of four vehicles were checked by Russian Federation border guards and customs officers prior to their crossing into Ukraine. All four vehicles had crossed back into the Russian Federation by 12:35 on 12 August.  (See OM Spot Report of 12 August 2021: https://www.osce.org/observer-mission-at-russian-checkpoints-gukovo-and-donetsk/495094 ).

For trends and figures at a glance covering the period from 13 July 2021 to 17 August 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).     

[3]Based on the Observer Mission’s counting, this convoy is considered the hundredth convoy that has crossed into Ukraine through the “Donetsk” or “Gukovo” BCPs. However, so far all these convoys crossed through the “Donetsk” BCP.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 190/2021 issued on 16 August 2021

OSCE - Mon, 08/16/2021 - 23:42
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 13 and 15 August, the SMM recorded 225 ceasefire violations, including 53 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 13 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 13 and 15 August, the Mission recorded 287 ceasefire violations, including 18 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 17 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of a woman injured due to gunfire in non-government-controlled Holubivske, Luhansk region.
  • The SMM followed up on damage due to shelling to and near an inhabited house in government-controlled Novoselivka Druha, Donetsk region.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at two SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in non-government-controlled Manuilivka, Donetsk region, and near Smile, Luhansk region.*
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations inside and close to the disengagement areas near Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable the operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at three entry-exit checkpoints and the corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Luhansk region.
  • The Mission observed no change in the security situation in east and south-east Kherson region.
  • The SMM monitored a gathering in Kyiv.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at two checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk region. Its UAVs again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 189/2021 issued on 14 August 2021

OSCE - Sat, 08/14/2021 - 17:54
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 13 ceasefire violations, including three explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 155 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 17 ceasefire violations, including three explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 17 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on damage due to small-arms fire at an inhabited apartment in non-government-controlled Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk 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 a localized ceasefire to enable repairs, maintenance and 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’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a checkpoint of the armed formations in Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 188/2021 issued on 13 August 2021

OSCE - Fri, 08/13/2021 - 21:26
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 155 ceasefire violations, including 64 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 33 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 17 ceasefire violations, including one explosion. In the previous reporting period, it recorded no ceasefire violations.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to a localized ceasefire to enable repairs and operation of critical civilian infrastructure. It recorded ten ceasefire violations near the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS).
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at three entry-exit checkpoints and four corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The Mission visited four border crossing points outside government control in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and monitored border areas outside government control in Donetsk region.
  • The Mission observed a convoy of trucks with Russian Federation licence plates in a non-government-controlled area in Luhansk region.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at two checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region as well as at a border crossing point near non-government-controlled Izvaryne, Luhansk region. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference *
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 187/2021 issued on 12 August 2021

OSCE - Thu, 08/12/2021 - 21:13
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 33 ceasefire violations, including 12 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 174 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded no ceasefire violations. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 99 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on damage due to shelling to an inhabited apartment in government-controlled Krasnohorivka, Donetsk region.
  • Small-arms fire was assessed as directed at an SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle near non-government-controlled Nova Marivka, Donetsk region.*
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to a localized ceasefire to enable repairs and operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at four entry-exit checkpoints and four corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at two checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

Spot Report by OSCE Observer Mission: 100th Russian convoy of four vehicles crossed into Ukraine and returned through Donetsk Border Crossing Point

OSCE - Thu, 08/12/2021 - 15:29

SUMMARY

On 12 August at 06:23 (Moscow time), the hundredth[1] Russian convoy arrived at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point (BCP). A total of four vehicles were checked by Russian Federation border guards and customs officers prior to their crossing into Ukraine. All four vehicles had crossed back into the Russian Federation by 12:35 on 12 August.

DETAIL

Leaving the Russian Federation

On 12 of August at 06:23, the Observer Mission observed the arrival of the Russian convoy at the gate of the Donetsk BCP. The convoy consisted of four vehicles: one escort car and three civilian cargo trucks. All the cargo trucks bore the inscription “Humanitarian aid from the Russian Federation” (in Russian). At 06:28, the vehicles entered the customs control area. Once the convoy arrived, the vehicles were visually checked from the outside by Russian Federation border guards and customs officers. The truck drivers rolled up/opened the tarpaulins of the trucks and the border guards and customs officials performed a visual observation from the outside. Three dogs were present and used by Russian Federation border guards to check the vehicles from the outside. One Russian Federation border guard took photos and videoed the convoy crossing.

Three Ukrainian border guards and two customs officers were observed accompanying their Russian counterparts. They also performed a visual observation of the vehicles from the outside (without entering the trucks’ cargo space). By 06:47, the vehicles left for Ukraine.

Returning to the Russian Federation

12:25, the convoy returned and queued in the customs area. The Russian Federation border guards and customs officers visually checked the returning convoy from the outside. Ukrainian representatives – three border guards and two customs officers – were present during this check. The Ukrainian officials also performed visual checks of the trucks from the outside. One dog was present and used by Russian Federation border guards to check the vehicles from the outside. By 12:35, all four vehicles had crossed back into the Russian Federation.

[1]Based on the Observer Mission’s counting, this convoy is considered the hundredth convoy that has crossed into Ukraine through the “Donetsk” or “Gukovo” BCPs. However, so far all these convoys crossed through the “Donetsk” BCP.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE supports Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to develop local economy by enhancing potential of Local Development Funds

OSCE - Thu, 08/12/2021 - 12:35
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Since June 2021, more than 160 participants from across Jalal-Abad and Osh provinces in Kyrgyzstan have taken part in a series of OSCE-supported training sessions focused on developing and implementing projects to promote local economic development.

The OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek organizes the capacity building sessions throughout 2021 in close co-operation with Abad, a NGO, within the framework of the project, Improving the Effectiveness of Public Administration. The series aims to increase the capacities of local development funds (LDFs), self-government bodies (LSGBs) and entrepreneurs toward strengthening the local economy.

One of the recent training sessions held on 10 August 2021 involved 17 participants from the supervisory board and executive structures of the LDF of the Toguz-Toro district in Jalal-Abad province.

The session focused on helping the participants enhance their knowledge and skills to more effectively evaluate and select project proposals aimed at supporting the development of the local economy. In particular, they learned more about the role of LSGBs in creating more favourable conditions for local economic development, criteria for the selection of relevant economic projects, mechanisms of municipal-private partnership and taxation.

Participants also explored ways to address and counteract shortcomings in how LDFs use their budgets. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic, 43 local LDFs across Kyrgyzstan received about USD $22 million between 2015 and 2018 but only spent USD $15 million, which is 66.7% of the available budgets.

A 2019 field study by a local NGO on these discrepancies concluded that such shortcomings might result from the limited capacity of LSGBs and local private entrepreneurs to develop sustainable and relevant project proposals, as well as from a lack of capacity among LDFs for selecting and evaluating project proposals. The OSCE training sessions are designed to help find ways to address these shortcomings.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 186/2021 issued on 11 August 2021

OSCE - Wed, 08/11/2021 - 20:49
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 174 ceasefire violations, including 12 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 28 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 99 ceasefire violations, including 21 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded no ceasefire violations.
  • The Mission saw damage to a medical facility in government-controlled Zolote-4/Rodina, Luhansk region.
  • The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske.
  • In the past weeks, the SMM spotted extensions to existing trenches in government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas of southern Donetsk region.
  • The Mission facilitated and monitored adherence to a localized ceasefire to enable the operation and repairs of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The SMM continued following up on the situation of civilians, including at three entry-exit checkpoints and three corresponding checkpoints of the armed formations in Luhansk region.
  • The Mission monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation in Luhansk region.
  • The SMM’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at a checkpoint of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Centre in Ashgabat organizes seminar on international experience on implementing digital technologies in water industry

OSCE - Wed, 08/11/2021 - 13:57
494977 OSCE Centre in Ashgabat

International experiences on implementing digital technologies in the water industry was the focus of an OSCE-organized online seminar held on 10 and 11 August 2021 in Ashgabat.

The seminar brought together the representatives from the State Committee of Water Economy of Turkmenistan; the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection (MAEP); the National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna; the Parliament (Mejlis); and other relevant ministries and agencies.

The event was facilitated by two international experts from Switzerland and Morocco. They shared best practices collected from OSCE participating States on the implementation of innovative solutions and digital technologies for sustainable water management. A particular focus was also placed on areas such as the irrigation sector, water conservation, water availability and supply.

“We all know how acute the issue of climate change is at the global level and how its effects exacerbate water scarcity in areas with limited water resources. That is why it is vital to improve water management, as this, in turn, will help support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts,” said William Leaf, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat.

“Given the major technological progress of the 21st century, digital tools and innovative approaches are indispensable for achieving sustainable development in the environmental field in general and in the water industry in particular. Such technological developments offer great opportunities for sound and sustainable water resource management and are essential for the development of effective national water management systems, as well as an effective legal and financial framework for international co-operation on water and hydro-diplomacy issues,” Leaf added. 

The Centre organized the event within the framework of the project, Improving Capacities of the Host Country to Strengthen Environmental Protection System and Energy Security, Phase II.

Categories: Central Europe

Training canines in Kyrgyzstan to help detect potential COVID-19 cases

OSCE - Wed, 08/11/2021 - 10:09

A team of service dogs in Kyrgyzstan have now finished an eight-week training course to detect sources of heat above 37 C, which has also opened the door for these dogs to potentially help detect human body temperature increases associated with COVID-19.

The course was held from May to July 2021 in Bishkek and was organized by the State Customs Service under the Ministry of Economy and Finance (SCS) with expert and technical support from the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek.

As part of the training course, the service dogs’ detection abilities were tested at the Bishkek International Airport. The tests consisted of training aids being heated to above the average temperature for a human body and being hidden under the clothes of a selection of volunteer airline passengers from four different flights. The dogs were then tested blindly and the results showed an 80% accuracy rate over 10 blind tests and after 140 hours of training. A blind test means the dogs were not aware of the hidden training aids or their location.

The tests confirm that the canines could be used to help quickly identify and confirm that a passenger’s body temperature exceeds a medically healthy range and may require a more thorough examination. The dogs’ detection of an increased temperature does not necessarily mean a person has an active infection.

While the training and tests are still at an experimental stage, the collected and analyzed data shows the potential for trained canines to be successfully used at airports and in other public spaces during and after the COVID-19 pandemic period.

The SCS canine service, with the support of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, is ready to provide training courses for service dogs in all interested state agencies within the framework of the Training of Service Dogs to Search for Objects (Subjects) of Heat Sources programme.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 185/2021 issued on 10 August 2021

OSCE - Tue, 08/10/2021 - 20:31
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 28 ceasefire violations, including one explosion. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 116 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded no ceasefire violations. In the previous 24 hours, it recorded 75 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of a man injured due to shelling in government-controlled Krasnohorivka, 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 a localized ceasefire 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 visited a border crossing point outside government control and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation in Donetsk region.
  • The SMM monitored a gathering in Kyiv.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at three checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk. Its unmanned aerial vehicles again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 184/2021 issued on 9 August 2021

OSCE - Mon, 08/09/2021 - 19:49
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 6 and 8 August, the SMM recorded 168 ceasefire violations, including 63 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 96 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 6 and 8 August, the Mission recorded 283 ceasefire violations, including 71 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 138 ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of damage to an inhabited apartment in non-government-controlled Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, Luhansk region.
  • An SMM patrol was threatened in non-government-controlled Staromykhailivka, 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 and near the disengagement area near Zolote.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to a localized ceasefire to enable operation of critical civilian infrastructure.
  • The Mission 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 three checkpoints of the armed formations in southern Donetsk region as well as at a border crossing point and a railway station near and in non-government-controlled Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk), Luhansk region. Its UAVs again experienced multiple instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

The fourth one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Border Security and Management for Senior Leadership Course: Completion of Module three in Greece

OSCE - Mon, 08/09/2021 - 14:32
494668 Nuriya Sherzodova

The OSCE Border Management Staff College (BMSC) jointly with the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) concluded the third module of the fourth one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Border Security and Management for Senior Leadership Course on 6 August 2021. The sessions were held in a blended format at the Multinational Peace Support Operations Training Centre (MPSOTC) in Kilkis, Greece.

Participants comprised twenty-seven officers and managers of border security and law enforcement agencies from fifteen OSCE’s participating States and Partners for Co-operation: Afghanistan Armenia, Egypt, France, Greece, Jordan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

“The e-learning phase of the module was completed by the face-to-face sessions, allowing the participants to meet each other for networking and co-operation,” said Savvas Chrysoulidis, training Manager at MPSOTC, and the leading expert of module three underscoring the balance achieved between in-class lectures and practice in the field.

The third module of the course, which concentrated on addressing the current and future trends in border security and management, offered a holistic teaching curriculum including lectures, group exercises, presentations, discussions along with cultural and study trips to Evzoni border crossing points and the central port of Thessaloniki. 

Key topics covered included contemporary challenges for customs administrations, qualitative risk analysis for border management, cross-border management, and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, European Integrated Border Management strategies, and Schengen evaluation principles. The participant also received insight on the implementation of innovative mechanisms for countering cross-border crime.

Anastasiia Marchuk, Colonel and Deputy Chief of the Unit at the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, and a graduate of the course, said: “During these two-week training, we gained more than we expected, not only through the interactive classroom session but also through the study trips."

Following the conclusion of the third and final module of the course, participants will write a Course Work and will defend their research findings to a panel of experts in October 2021. 

The course is accredited by the Estonian Quality Assessment Council for Higher Education (EKKA) and equals an internationally recognized one-year postgraduate diploma course.

Categories: Central Europe

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Daily Report 183/2021 issued on 7 August 2021

OSCE - Sat, 08/07/2021 - 21:13
SDGs SDGs:  16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions

Summary

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 96 ceasefire violations, including four explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 57 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 138 ceasefire violations, including 47 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded ten ceasefire violations.
  • The SMM followed up on reports of a man injured due to the detonation of an explosive object in Donetsk city.
  • The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske. It recorded ceasefire violations inside the disengagement area near Petrivske as well as in the vicinity of the disengagement area near Zolote.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to localized ceasefires to enable operation and repairs 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 visited three border crossing points outside government control and monitored areas near the border with the Russian Federation, in Donetsk region.
  • The Mission observed a gathering in Kyiv.
  • The Mission’s freedom of movement continued to be restricted, including at five checkpoints of the armed formations, in Donetsk region. Its UAVs again experienced instances of GPS signal interference.*
Categories: Central Europe

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