Istanbul to host OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

  • Published by Vedat
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session will convene in Istanbul at Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Center with a focus on basic human rights less than a month after thousands of people took to the streets across Turkey in the country's largest demonstrations in a decade.

osce-paIn meetings being held six blocks from Istanbul's Gezi Park, the Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions will debate a resolution calling for government action to uphold freedom of expression, whether it is on the streets or on the Internet.

"This resolution allows our members to take a clear stand for fundamental freedoms in the digital age," said Isabel Santos (Portugal), the committee chair. "Now governments ought to endorse similar principles, in their actions at home and in their votes at international meetings, to ensure we protect freedom."

The resolution pending also "strongly urges" governments to respect rule of law and judicial independence, and to release and exonerate all political prisoners and to allow these prisoners to receive visits from international institutions, like the OSCE. The measure calls for governments to establish special anti-trafficking units and national action plans to combat modern-day slavery

"For several years we have seen increased global awareness about human trafficking. This resolution encourages better collaboration to increase prosecution of this crime as well," said Ann Phelan (Ireland), committee rapporteur and author of the resolution.

The committee resolution also calls for increased participation of civil society, public and media in the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).

The resolution is being considered for inclusion in the Assembly's Istanbul Declaration, which helps shape OSCE and national policy. Parliamentarians are expected to debate, amend and vote on the resolution and declaration at the OSCE PA's Annual Session in Istanbul. The Annual Session, including committee debates and votes, are open to the press and public. The session runs 29 June through 3 July. For more information, click here.

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.

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