OSCE Chairperson strongly regrets Belarus travel ban on civil society activist
DUBLIN, 12 July 2012 – The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affaires Eamon Gilmore, expressed his strong regret about the Belarusian authorities’ decision to prevent a Belarusian civil society activist from travelling to an OSCE meeting in Vienna today.
Viktor Kornienko, who is a co-chair of the civil initiative For Fair Elections, had been invited to attend the two-day Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Democratic Elections and Election Observation, which starts today.
“I strongly regret the decision by the Belarusian authorities to prevent Mr Kornienko travelling to this meeting. The participation of civil society representatives has always been central to the OSCE’s work, as has been repeatedly recognized by the 56 OSCE participating States, including Belarus,” said the Chairperson. “I urge the Belarusian authorities to reverse this decision as soon as possible.”
Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which is organizing the meeting, noted that hindering the travel of human rights activists and their participation in such events runs counter to OSCE commitments.
“Belarus, like all OSCE participating States, has committed itself to ‘allow members of such groups and organizations to have unhindered access to and communication with … international organizations’,” Lenarčič said.