International

Call to save OSCE human dimension by current and former PA Presidents and human rights leaders

By July 22, 2020 No Comments

COPENHAGEN, 22 July 2020 – With the OSCE’s leaders’ mandates having expired on 18 July due to a failure to reach agreement among governmental representatives in Vienna, a group of current and former leaders of the OSCE’s parliamentary dimension called today for immediate action to ensure that the organization can continue to function.

“We call your attention to today’s call by former Directors of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to heed the message on human rights rather than shooting the messenger – a message that we fully endorse,” the Parliamentary Assembly leaders said in a joint statement. “By letting the leadership of the OSCE’s executive structures lapse, the governments of OSCE participating States have weakened the organization and thereby weakened our people’s security.”

Noting that when it is working co-operatively, the OSCE is able to effectively deliver real results on behalf of the people, the PA leaders stressed the need to stop inhibiting the organization’s functions.

“The work by leaders of ODIHR and other OSCE institutions to improve the rule of law, democratic governance and overall security have helped countless people across the OSCE region for many years,” the PA leaders said. “This happens through quiet actions such as support to parliaments as well as through the occasional critical word. It is a sad state of affairs that their willingness to at times criticize the actions of some governments is now being used by governments to block continued work by the organization.”

The statement continued: “In discontinuing the work of the outgoing leaders of the ODIHR and other institutions, the intended target would appear to be their willingness to voice difficult truths. In reality, however, the casualty is the human security of people all across the OSCE – people that we as parliamentarians are elected to represent. It is in the name of our constituents, therefore, that we call for immediate steps to fill the leadership vacuum at the top of the OSCE.”

The PA leaders noted that every day that the OSCE institutions go without leadership is a day of further weakening of the human security of people across the OSCE. “As current and former leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, we pledge to support any decisive efforts to move beyond this crisis facing the organization,” they said.

The signatories of the statement include:

  • Mr. George Tsereteli (Georgia), President
  • Ms. Christine Muttonen (Austria) former President
  • Mr. Ilkka Kanerva (Finland), former President
  • Mr. Ranko Krivokapic (Montenegro), former President
  • Mr. Wolfgang Grossruck (Austria), former President
  • Mr. Riccardo Migliori (Italy), former President
  • Mr. Petros Efthymiou (Greece), former President
  • Mr. Joao Soares (Portugal), former President
  • Mr. Alcee Hastings (United States), former President
  • Mr. Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) Chair of human rights committee
  • Ms. Margareta Kiener Nellen (Switzerland) former Chair of human rights committee
  • Ms. Isabel Santos (Portugal) former Chair of human rights committee
  • Mr. Ignacio Sanchez Amor (Spain) former Chair of human rights committee
  • Mr. Matteo Mecacci (Italy) former Chair of the human rights committee
  • Mr. Michael Georg Link (Germany) Vice-Chair of human rights committee
  • Ms. Ivana Dobesova (Czech Republic) Vice-Chair of human rights committee
  • Ms. Kari Henriksen (Norway) Rapporteur of human rights committee
  • Ms. Susana Amador (Portugal) former Rapporteur of human rights committee
  • Ms. Gordana Comic (Serbia) former Rapporteur of human rights committee
  • Mr. Sevki Kulkuloglu (Turkey) former Vice-Chair of human rights committee

In a letter last week to Members of the Bureau and the Standing Committee, OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella addressed the institutional crisis affecting the OSCE executive structures and institutions, recalling that the PA has long urged the OSCE to de-politicize managerial decisions and avoid the misuse of the consensus rule. In light of the crisis, he urged PA leaders to place more value on the OSCE and remain engaged at the highest political level, particularly at this moment of unprecedented global challenges.

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The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 323 parliamentarians from 57 countries spanning Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international co-operation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.

Link to OSCE PA’s original press release here.

Link to open letter to the Foreign Ministers of the 57 participating states of the OSCE here.