OSCE calls for closer cooperation with civil societies worldwide
On 29-29 November Astana, Kazakhstan, hosted the OSCE Civil Society Parallel Conference, attended by over 200 NGO representatives from 26 OSCE member countries.
The conference is an independent event, initiated by the OSCE members ahead of the 2010 Summit to be held in Astana on 1-2 December.
The Human Rights Center Viasna is on the organizing committee of the conference. Other Belarusian NGOs taking part in the conference include the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs and the Center for Legal Transformations.
The objective of the conference is to draw attention of both the governments of the OSCE members and their civil societies to numerous abuses of obligations undertaken by the member states.
The participating NGOs called upon the governments of the OSCE members to implement the obligations undertaken under international agreements. Especial attention was paid to human dimension issues: freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, freedom of movement, protection of human rights defenders, election observation.
Ales Bialiatski, chair of the Human Rights Center Viasna made a speech on the issue of protection of human rights defenders. In his appeal, Mr. Bialiatski called upon the governments of the OSCE members to ‘shake the dust off the treaties’ on human dimension. He also demanded that the OSCE established closer cooperation with the civil society.