Joint Statement on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

JOINT STATEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS As delivered by Ambassador René Dinesen, Permanent Representation of Denmark to the OSCE, at the closing session of the 2018 OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, December 7, 2018, Milan, Italy I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the following 45 participating States: Albania, Andorra, ...
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Remarks at a Ukraine-Hosted Side Event on Russian Aggression in Crimea and the Sea of Azov

Remarks at the Ukraine-Hosted Side Event at the 2018 OSCE Ministerial Council On Russian Aggression in Crimea, the Kerch Strait, and the Sea of Azov As delivered by Assistant Secretary of State A. Wess Mitchell December 6, 2018 Thank you, Pavlo, for organizing this important event. The past four years of Russian aggression against Ukraine ...
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USA at the 2018 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesperson For Immediate Release MEDIA NOTE September 7, 2018 U.S. Delegation to the 2018 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Ambassador Michael G. Kozak will lead the U.S. delegation to the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to be held ...
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Interview with U.S. Delegation Head Ambassador Michael Kozak on the 2017 OSCE HDIM

Interview with U.S. Delegation Head Ambassador Michael Kozak on the 2017 OSCE HDIM On September 13, 2017, the Security and Human Rights Monitor  published an interview with Ambassador Michael Kozak, the Head of the U.S. Delegation. In the interview he outlined the main issues of concern for the United States at the 2017 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. Questions were prepared by Stephanie Liechtenstein, ...
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Reply to the Opening Session of the RFOM Conference “Media Freedom in Volatile Environments”

We agree that we can all do more to strengthen journalist protections.  We agree that there is a need for more fact-based reporting.  And we agree that these issues need to be addressed democratically and in a manner consistent with OSCE principles and commitments.
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Response to Altai Efendiev, Secretary General of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development

We share the concerns of Organization for Democracy and Economic Development member states about the active and protracted conflicts in this region, and are deeply concerned by continuing violations of member states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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On Continued Reports of Arrests, Unlawful Detention, Torture, and Killing of Gay Men by the Chechen Government

The Human Rights Watch report, which appears to us to be well documented and to rely on independent sources in Chechnya, gives a timeline of events, provides multiple victims’ accounts of the violence perpetrated against them, and offers recommendations to Russian authorities, foreign governments, and international bodies.
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Interpretative Statement on the Decision on the Programme Office in Dushanbe

The United States has joined consensus on the new mandate for the OSCE field presence in Tajikistan, now called the Program Office in Dushanbe. We do so with the understanding that the new mandate will not be used to restrict the autonomy of the Office and its ability to respond flexibly to challenges or issues ...
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Joint Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

We do not expect attitudes about LGBTI persons to change overnight, but we do expect that political leaders will lead the fight against hate crimes and intolerance. They must ensure the ability of LGBTI persons to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to express themselves, to associate, and to peacefully assemble.
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Responses to the Russian Federation Statement on Privacy Concerns

National security matters are an issue of public debate in the United States, a debate which involves civil society, human rights activists, the media, journalists, bloggers, comedians, and any number of other individuals and organizations, all of which are free to express themselves, organize, associate, and peacefully assemble to make their views heard.
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Response to Russia’s Criticism of ODIHR Election Observation

Response to Russia’s Criticism of ODIHR Election Observation As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Kate M. Byrnes to the Permanent Council, Vienna April 27, 2017 Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Russian Federation’s claim that ODIHR’s determination regarding how to observe the French elections is another example of an “unbalanced” approach by ODIHR is unjustified and ...
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Reply to Russia on the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Reply to Russia on the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Kate M. Byrnes to the Permanent Council, Vienna April 27, 201 Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Russian Federation referred to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) as an obsolete international guardian that should be ...
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Russia’s Continued Misuse of Terrorism and Extremism Laws to Restrict the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief

We urge Russia to respect the human right of all to exercise the fundamental freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief-- including the right to profess and practice one’s religion alone or in community with others -- in accordance with its OSCE commitments and international obligations.
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On Continued Reports of Arrests, Unlawful Detention, Torture, and Killing of Gay Men by the Chechen Government

The United States continues to be disturbed by reports of arrests, unlawful detention, torture, and killings of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation, as well as those subjected to abuse by association. These violations and abuses of human rights cannot be ignored.
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Response to the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ambassador Moore, the ongoing involvement of your Mission in supporting the country’s priorities remains a vital part of stability and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The OSCE Mission continues to assist the host government with implementation of reforms and strengthening the rule of law, democratic institutions, and mechanisms for the protection of human rights.
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Response to the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

ODIHR is leading the way on numerous areas of critical importance to the comprehensive and lasting security of our region. ODIHR’s work on tolerance and non-discrimination, in particular regarding combating violent hate crimes, anti-Semitism, and intolerance towards Roma and Sinti, is essential at a time when intolerance is on the rise throughout the region
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Russia’s Misuse of Terrorism and Extremism Laws to Restrict the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief

Mr. Chair, colleagues, let me be clear – the threat to our region from violent extremism and terrorism is real. However, the prosecution of members of peaceful religious minority groups for “extremism” serves only to distract from and undermine our mutual efforts to combat true violent threats.
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Restrictions on the Freedoms of Expression, Association and Peaceful Assembly in the Russian Federation

The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution.
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Ambassador Haley’s Remarks to the UN Security Council on Conflicts in Europe

The OSCE is playing a crucial role observing and monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine. U.S. bonds with NATO and the OSCE have stood the test of time. These are institutions that bring together partners on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to defend our shared ideals.
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Reply to the Russian Federation on Ukraine

In regards to the question from the Russian delegation about the U.S. position with respect to the recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, it is the assessment of the United States that these are combined Russian-separatist forces and that Russia continues to provide the materiel, financial, and other direct support that fuels the conflict ...
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Response to Cyprus Foreign Minister and Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe | Statement to the PC

Security through a rules-based international order founded on the protection of human rights and inclusive, democratic societies can best be achieved when international organizations such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe work in concert to protect and promote our common values.
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Ongoing Violations of Freedom of Expression in Russia | Statement to the PC

Ongoing Violations of Freedom of Expression in Russia  |  Statement to the PC As delivered by Deputy Chief of Mission Kate M. Byrnes to the Permanent Council, Vienna January 19, 2017 The United States is concerned about the December 28 decision by Chechnya’s Supreme Court to uphold the conviction of Zhalaudi Geriev, a local independent ...
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Press Release: United States Joins 21 Other Partner OSCE Delegations in Presenting the 2017 Democracy Defender Award to Russia’s Golos Movement

"As the only independent electoral watchdog in Russia, the Golos Movement provides an essential voice before, during, and after elections to monitor transparency, openness, and lawfulness, and identify electoral fraud and abuse."
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Ambassador Baer’s Interview with Gazeta.ru

One of the things that gets misunderstood is that while it is true that it is difficult to reach consensus today in the OSCE, on most things, there is agreement by at least 55 or 56 States. It is usually one or two holdouts. When it’s one, it’s usually the Russian Federation. And when it’s ...
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On the Ministerial Council decision on the OSCE’s Role in the Governance of Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees | Interpretative Statement

In connection with the Ministerial Council decision just adopted on the OSCE’s Role in the Governance of Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees, the United States would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure. The United States believes that this phenomenon is truly a multi-dimensional, cross-cutting ...
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On the Ministerial Decision on the OSCE’s Role in the Governance of Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees | Joint Interpretative Statement

In connection with the adoption of the Ministerial Decision on the OSCE’s Role in the Governance of Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees, we would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure: The delegations of Azerbaijan, Canada, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States ...
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Secretary of State John Kerry at the Opening Session of the OSCE Ministerial | Statement to the 2016 Ministerial Council

Friends and colleagues, we meet in Hamburg today to reaffirm the same idea that tied us together in Helsinki 41 years ago: that our collective security is directly linked to the growth of our economies and the protection of basic human rights.
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Response to the Reports by the Three Committee Chairs | Statement to the PC

The United States joins other delegations in expressing its appreciation to each of the distinguished Chairs for their work. We are also grateful for all those who participate constructively in the three committees, which have done so much to advance the work of this Organization and help participating States fulfill their OSCE commitments. Regarding the ...
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Concern about Freedom of Association in Turkey | Statement to the PC

Colleagues, more than twenty years ago in Copenhagen, our governments committed to “ensure that individuals are permitted to exercise the right to association, including the right to form, join and participate effectively in non-governmental organizations which seek the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including trade unions and human rights monitoring groups.” ...
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Continued Efforts to Silence and Intimidate Independent Voices and Civil Society in Russia | Statement to the PC

The United States is deeply troubled by reports that Ildar Dadin, a Russian activist who is serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term, has been subjected to threats, mistreatment, and torture in prison. Last week, in a letter he wrote and smuggled out of prison, he reported shocking conditions and widespread mistreatment of prisoners, including himself. Mr. ...
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On the Unjust Sentencing of Giyas Ibrahimov in Azerbaijan | Statement to the PC

The United States is troubled by the October 25 decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence N!DA activist Giyas Ibrahimov to ten years in prison on charges of drug possession in what is widely considered to be politically motivated prosecution.  Amnesty International reported that while in custody Mr. Ibrahimov was tortured into confessing to a ...
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Response to Peter Maurer, International Committee of the Red Cross President | Statement to the PC

I would like to start by expressing our sincere gratitude to President Maurer for his remarks and thoughtful recommendations on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross. We first met in Washington several years ago in our previous capacities. It has been a real pleasure to see you and your success in your ...
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Response to ODIHR’s Director on the 2016 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting | Statement to the PC

Director Link, the United States welcomes you back to the Permanent Council and thanks you for your report on the 2016 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. On behalf of my delegation here in Vienna, and our colleagues from Washington, Moscow, and Baku who were part of the U.S. delegation to HDIM, I would like thank you, ...
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Right of Reply at the Closing Plenary of HDIM 2016

The Russian Federation made yet another effort to blame Ukraine for the Russian Federation’s military intervention in that country.  The absurdity of this claim is matched only by the Russian Delegation’s claim that the Munich agreement was responsible for WWII and in effect that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to military divide our host country and other ...
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Closing Remarks | Statement at the Closing Plenary of HDIM 2016

As the 2016 HDIM draws to a close, my delegation wishes to share some observations that will shape our approach to the OSCE Ministerial in Hamburg. First: Helsinki Final Act Principles linking respect for human rights within states to lasting security among states could not be more relevant. These foundational principles are under siege and ...
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Any Other Business | Statement at Closing Plenary of HDIM 2016

The United States has used this agenda item to follow up on the invocation of the Moscow Mechanism. It is up to us, the participating States, to remain actively engaged on the concerns which gave rise to the invocation of the Mechanism until they are resolved. We welcome Turkmenistan’s participation in this meeting, and hope ...
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Some OSCE Governments Are Revealing Their Weakness

No confident government would be frightened by a human rights defender. So what do crackdowns on activists by certain OSCE governments tell us? At the 2016 HDIM, taking place now in Warsaw , we’ve been speaking out against what we call the ‘shrinking space’ for civil society in many parts of the OSCE region. Civil society activists perform a vital role in ...
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Rights of the Child | Right of Reply at Working Session 16 of the 2016 HDIM

The distinguished delegate of the Russian Federation implied that re-adoption and the sale of children were widespread practice in the U.S. To the contrary, in our experience, the vast majority of adoptive placements result in successful and permanent placement of children into loving homes.  As in every country, sometimes the challenges are too big for ...
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Rights of the Child, Part 2 | Statement at Working Session 17 of the 2016 HDIM

The United States remains committed to combatting the sexual exploitation of children. Child sex tourism, in which an individual from one country travels to another country and while there engages in sexual activity with a child, is a serious concern – and a serious crime. As the United States is a country of origin of ...
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Roma and Sinti Issues | Statement at Working Session 15 of the 2016 HDIM

Two weeks ago, ODIHR and the German chairmanship organized a conference on the role of political leaders in countering discrimination, racism, and bias-motivated crimes against Roma. This conference built on an excellent side event convened during last year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. We commend Germany and ODIHR for continuing to focus on this problem as ...
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Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Women and Men | Statement at Working Session 14 of HDIM 2016

Equal opportunity for women and men in all spheres of life is critical to building resilient, democratic societies; supporting open and accountable governance; ending extreme poverty; furthering international peace and security; growing vibrant market economies; and addressing pressing health and education challenges. One of the biggest threats to reaching these goals is gender-based violence. As ...
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Freedom of Movement | Statement at Working Session 13 of HDIM 2016

In Vienna in 1989, all participating States committed to, “respect the right of everyone to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State, and to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” This right is still not fully respected in all participating States. Let me make it ...
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Ambassador Baer’s Interview with VOA Azerbaijan Service September 27, 2016

QUESTION:  Recently President Aliyev accused you of being mainly responsible for the closure of the OSCE office in Baku.  How would you comment on these statements? AMBASSADOR BAER:  I was surprised to see that President Aliyev was talking about me.  His claim is not supported by the facts.  Unfortunately, the reason why the OSCE office ...
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Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief | Right of Reply at Working Session 12 of HDIM 2016

With regard to the comments about our countering violent extremism policy, as our President said, “ISIL and al Qaeda want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims. . . . That is their propaganda.  If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush, we’re ...
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Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief | Statement at Working Session 12 of HDIM 2016

Freedom of religion or belief is a founding principle of the Helsinki Process. Unfortunately, a small number of participating States engage in consistent, systematic violations and abuses of the freedom of religion or belief.
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Tolerance and Non-Discrimination | Right of Reply at Working Session 11 of HDIM 2016

First, we agree with Poland that the term “Polish death camps” is factually wrong.  We just disagree that the use of the term should be criminalized. We thank the Russian Federation for raising hate crimes, and police killing in the United States.  We do not agree with the characterization that these crimes were nationalist.  But ...
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Tolerance and Non-Discrimination | Statement at Working Session 11 of HDIM 2016

All human beings are born equal in rights and dignity. Everyone should be protected, not threatened. But across the OSCE region, we continue to see an alarming rise in intolerance. Despite efforts by some states to address intolerance and discrimination, many participating States do not adequately implement their tolerance and non-discrimination commitments. At a mosque ...
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Tolerance and Non-Discrimination | Right of Reply at Working Session 10 of HDIM 2016

If a government has law enforcement concerns about a participant, HDIM is not the appropriate forum to deal with it. There are inter-governmental tools for law enforcement cooperation. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: we want your participation. Walking out robs the rest of us of your government’s perspective. It is not an effective way to respond to ...
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Tolerance and Non-Discrimination | Statement at Working Session 10 of HDIM 2016

Respect for the rights of persons belonging to national minorities is a cornerstone of the Helsinki Final Act. We underscore the importance of maintaining the independence of the High Commissioner on National Minorities and ODIHR.
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Rule of Law | Right of Reply at Working Session 8 of HDIM 2016

With regard to Guantanamo Bay, which of course is not a secret, President Obama has repeatedly made clear since taking office that his Administration is determined to close the detention facility and is taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population.  However, we note that the United States does not transfer any individual in ...
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Trafficking in Human Beings | Statement at Working Session 7 of HDIM 2016

The United States offers its continued support in the effort to save lives and protect those who are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, including migrants and refugees. Europol has reported that known smuggling and human trafficking gangs are working together to exploit migrant vulnerabilities. This is particularly concerning given the influx last year of 90,000 ...
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Freedom of Expression, Information, and Media Freedom | Statement at Working Session 6 of HDIM 2016

In establishing the Representative on Freedom of the Media in 1997, the OSCE participating States recognized that “free, independent, and pluralistic media are essential to a free and open society and accountable systems of government.”
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Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly | Statement at Working Session 5 of HDIM 2016

Freedom of association is necessary for the fullest exercise of the freedoms of expression and of religion or belief, and for the conduct of free and fair elections. It is a cornerstone for the rights of persons seeking to form independent trade unions.
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Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly | Right of Reply at Working Session 4 of HDIM 2016

We would like to exercise our right of reply in response to the Russian Federation. At the outset we would note that the Russian Federation failed to identify a single concrete action it is taking to promote either the civil, political or economic, social and cultural rights of its people. We explained why we have ...
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International Covenants on Human Rights | Statement at Working Session 3 of HDIM 2016

Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech. He said that liberty rested on “freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.” He identified freedom of speech and freedom to worship as core civil and political rights. He defined “freedom from fear” as ...
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International Covenants on Human Rights | Statement at Working Session 2 of HDIM 2016

The Helsinki Final Act’s Guiding Principle Ten commits all participating States to fulfill in good faith obligations under international law. Principle Seven refers specifically to obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights. In signing the human rights covenants in 1977, former President Jimmy Carter observed that the Covenant on Civil and Political rights “states ...
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Democratic Institutions | Right of Reply at Working Session 1 of HDIM 2016

We would like to exercise our right of reply regarding the statements of the Azerbaijan Citizen Labor Rights Protection League. The gentleman implied that U.S. civil society is unable to do shadow reports on U.S. human rights performance. Nothing could be further from the truth, as those who monitor the activities of our independent civil ...
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Democratic Institutions | Statement at Working Session 1 of HDIM 2016

Elections are an essential element of democracy and a cornerstone of democratic institutions. The U.S. greatly appreciates the OSCE’s invaluable role in election observation – indeed, this organization has developed what is known as the “gold standard” for its methodology on evaluating elections.
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Opening Remarks from U.S. Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor Tom Malinowski | HDIM 2016

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Government and Civil Society Representatives, My name is Tom Malinowski, and I am the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Forty-one years ago, the Helsinki Final Act enshrined the principle that respect for human rights within states is essential to security and cooperation among states. The Final ...
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Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2016

Protecting space for civil society, defending human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Each year, hundreds of government officials, international experts, and human rights advocates gather for the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) – Europe’s largest human rights conference and a unique regional forum for governments and civil society to meet to discuss pressing ...
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On the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances | Statement to the PC

On August 30, we marked the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. The United States stands in solidarity with the men and women around the world whose own governments have abducted them and detained them in secret. In too many countries, repressive regimes confronted by citizens trying to hold their leaders accountable will ...
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Ongoing Concerns About Freedom of Association in Russia | Statement to the PC

Colleagues, twenty years ago in Copenhagen, our governments committed to “ensure that individuals are permitted to exercise the right to association, including the right to form, join, and participate effectively in non-governmental organizations which seek the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including trade unions and human rights monitoring groups.” Mindful of ...
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Reply to Russia on International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances | Statement to the PC

I’d like to respond to the statement by our distinguished Russian colleague. First, a technical point: the distinguished Russian colleague is within his rights within this forum to raise whatever issues he wants to; under the topic of enforced disappearances, I don’t think that he raised anything that applies to my country. Enforced disappearances are ...
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On the Situation in Turkey | Statement to the PC

The United States is deeply disturbed by the recent developments in Turkey, and we continue to follow developments closely. We strongly support Turkey’s democratically elected civilian government and its democratic institutions, and we condemn the attempt to overthrow the Turkish government. We’ve witnessed a demonstration of the Turkish people’s support for their democracy.
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Right of Reply to the Holy See and Russia on Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict | Statement to the PC

First, to our colleague from the Holy See — I wanted to reassure our colleague at the Holy See that, indeed, through what has now been years of negotiations in which the Holy See has played a very active role on the Addendum on the Gender Action Plan, that there is no secret agenda there ...
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Response to Ambassador Claud Wild’s Report on the OSCE and Migration | Statement at a Special PC

I would like to start by expressing our sincere gratitude to Ambassador Claude Wild for chairing the Informal Working Group on Migration. Ambassador Wild, you have demonstrated leadership, conducted the working group in an open and transparent way, involved international partners and civil society, and worked tirelessly. Congratulations. The United States deeply appreciates your efforts ...
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On Legislation Restricting Fundamental Freedoms in Russia | Statement to the PC

The United States is concerned by the Russian Federation’s recent adoption of amendments to its antiterrorism law, which President Putin signed on July 7. The amendments include a number of provisions, which place greater restrictions on the exercise of the rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and religion. Civil society actors and members ...
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On Peaceful Protests and Ensuring Constitutional Policing in the U.S. | Statement to the PC

The past week has been a difficult one for the people of the United States. The fatal shootings by police of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, both African American men, are deeply troubling and have prompted peaceful public demonstrations and protests in Louisiana, Minnesota, and other cities throughout the United States. ...
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Protecting the Rights of Migrants in the U.S. | Statement to the PC

Last month at the Permanent Council, we said that we would return to the issue of the human rights of migrants in the United States. Let me begin by emphasizing that the United States takes its international obligations and OSCE commitments with regard to migrants very seriously. We are, after all, a country of immigrants, ...
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Response to Sebastian Kurz, Foreign Minister of Austria | Statement to the PC

Minister Kurz, the United States welcomes you to the Permanent Council, and offers its sincere thanks to Austria for taking on the Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2017. When the current Chairman-in-Office, Minister Steinmeier, appeared at the Permanent Council in January, we noted that Germany was assuming the Chairmanship at a time when Europe faced ...
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On Freedom of Expression and Judicial Independence Concerns in Turkey | Statement to the PC

As Turkey’s friend, we urge Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold the universal democratic values enshrined in Turkey’s constitution, and its international human rights obligations and commitments, including those with respect to freedom of expression.
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Right of Reply to Russia on Freedom of Association Concerns in Russia | Statement to the PC

Thank you to our distinguished Russian colleague for his comments. I just wanted to clarify that the statement from my delegation was not a request for special treatment of any individuals under the law, it was an expression of concern that, as you said yourself, we have several times made clear that we see the ...
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Reply to Uzbekistan regarding Response to the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan | Statement to the PC

I’d like to thank our distinguished colleague from Uzbekistan for his update on recent interactions with respect to the cotton harvest and longstanding concerns about forced child labor and forced labor in the cotton harvest, and I’d also like to acknowledge his point that in this forum we should raise concerns that connect directly to ...
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Response to the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan | Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes to the Permanent Council the OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan, Ambassador John MacGregor. Ambassador MacGregor, we support the Project Coordinator’s priorities, including assisting the government with addressing transnational threats, promoting good governance and anti-corruption, combating trafficking in persons, strengthening the criminal justice system, promoting human rights, and gender equality. We support ...
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On the Harassment and Intimidation of Political Opposition in Russia: Statement to the PC

Russia today is a place where independent civil society is under siege and peaceful dissent can be dangerous. We are concerned about a pattern of harassment and attacks against members of the peaceful political opposition in Russia. On May 17, a group of approximately 30 men attacked Alexei Navalny, an opposition politician, and his fellow ...
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Reply to Russia on Harassment and Intimidation of the Political Opposition in Russia: Statement to the PC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I just have a couple of quick comments. One, in answer to our distinguished Russian colleague’s question about my use of the term “violence.” Just to be clear: the definition that we would use for violence is any kind of physical attack, and I am very surprised to hear that the ...
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On the Release of Khadija Ismayilova: Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes the decision of the Azerbaijani Supreme Court to release investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova on a suspended sentence. We view this as a positive step, and we encourage the Azerbaijani government to drop all remaining charges against her. Protecting freedom of expression and expanding the space for civic and political participation will ...
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Concern About the Detention of Odil Kobilov in Uzbekistan: Statement to the PC

The United States is concerned about the detention of Mr. Odil Kobilov, a lawyer in Uzbekistan who defended Mr. Aramais Avakian, convicted on baseless charges of supporting ISIL. After defending Mr. Avakian, Mr. Kobilov, reportedly, has been imprisoned and his license to practice law was revoked.   Such politically-motivated retaliation, intended to suppress freedom of expression ...
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On Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Kazakhstan: Statement to the PC

The United States is concerned about restrictions on the right of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of the media in Kazakhstan, including the recent detention of journalists and protestors in connection with anticipated demonstrations over land reform. In Copenhagen in 1990, OSCE participating States agreed that “everyone will have the right of ...
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Response to the Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat: Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes Ambassador Petrov back to the Permanent Council. Ambassador, we thank you for your report and for your service, especially since today marks your final statement in this chamber. The United States appreciates the work of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat across all three dimensions. We welcome the Center’s projects on border ...
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Response to Estonia’s Foreign Minister Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Chair Marina Kaljurand: Statement to the PC

Madam Foreign Minister Kaljurand, the United States warmly welcomes you to the Permanent Council and it is nice to see you again, and thanks for your insightful and constructive remarks. The United States shares Estonia’s conviction that the principles of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are the foundational components for a sound ...
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Replies to the Holy See on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) | Statement to the PC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I’d like to respond to the statement just made by our distinguished colleague from the Holy See. I’m not sure – especially since he made clear that his delegation does not recognize this day – why he felt obliged to take the floor, but I’m glad that he did. ...
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On the Release of the 2015 Human Rights Reports: Statement to the PC

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry released the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices covering calendar year 2015.  These reports, commonly known as the Human Rights Reports, document the human rights situation in 199 countries and territories around the world.  Every year, diplomats and staff at U.S. embassies and consulates work with human ...
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On Fundamental Freedoms in Russia: Statement to the PC

The United States remains concerned about growing intolerance of dissent and independent voices in the Russian Federation, including increasing restrictions imposed on civil society by the Russian government. The United States is deeply troubled by the Russian Government’s March 10 decision to designate the National Democratic Institute (NDI) as a so-called “undesirable” foreign organization. We ...
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Response to the Address by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan: Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes Deputy Minister Azimov to the OSCE Permanent Council. Your appearance here today signals Azerbaijan’s interest in contributing to the Organization’s comprehensive approach to security, and to upholding our common principles and commitments. At the outset, let me underscore that the United States believes efforts in support of resolving the protracted conflicts ...
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Anniversary of the Astana Declaration: Statement to the PC

Anniversary of the Astana Declaration and Our Commitment that Human Rights are Not Exclusively Internal Affairs During the recent Ministerial Council in Belgrade, some delegations suggested that the OSCE pays too much attention to the human dimension, purportedly out of proportion to the attention it pays to the other dimensions included in the Organization’s comprehensive ...
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On UN Human Rights Day: Statement to the PC

Today we celebrate UN Human Rights Day, established to mark the adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This year’s theme “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” signals the launch of a year-long UN campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on ...
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On the release of human rights activist Murod Juraev in Uzbekistan: Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes the release of former member of parliament and human rights activist Murod Juraev after 21 years in prison. We regard Mr. Juraev’s release as a positive step and urge the Government of Uzbekistan to build on it by making it a prelude to the release of other long-held journalists, activists, and ...
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Release from Prison of Arif Yunus in Azerbaijan: Statement to the PC

The United States views the November 12 decision by the Baku Court of Appeals to transfer peace activist and historian Arif Yunus from prison to house arrest on humanitarian grounds as a positive step. We hope the Azerbaijani government will give similar consideration to other prisoners reportedly facing severe health challenges. We call on the ...
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Response to ODIHR Director on Follow-up to the 2015 HDIM: Statement to the PC

We thank Director Link for his presentation on this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. We also would like to once again thank Poland for hosting the HDIM. Once a year, we spend a significant amount of time and resources to conduct a comprehensive review of how all OSCE participating States are doing in implementing the ...
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Closing Plenary Statement: HDIM 2015

As we conclude another OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), our thanks go once again to Poland for hosting the conference and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Michael Link and his team have worked tirelessly to prepare and facilitate these last two weeks, and we are grateful to them for ...
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Closing Reinforced Plenary – Any Other Business: HDIM 2015

The United States, for several years, has used this agenda item to follow up on the invocation of the Moscow Mechanism concerning Turkmenistan and Belarus. The United States believes it is important that we continue to use our human rights mechanisms – and that means we, the participating States, need to take action based on the outcomes of ...
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Protection of human rights and fighting terrorism: HDIM 2015, Session 8

Since the OSCE HDIM in 2014, the United States appeared before the UN Committee Against Torture, where we engaged in an open and forthright discussion on the United States’ record on issues ranging from police use of force, to the wide range of civil remedies for seeking redress in cases of torture, to the former ...
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Freedom of peaceful assembly and association: HDIM 2015, Session 4

The freedom of peaceful assembly and association is a cornerstone of democracy. All OSCE participating States have committed to protect peaceful assembly and to respect the right of individuals to associate with others, even if in so doing they voice opinions critical of the government or are generally unpopular. During the last year, Russia accelerated ...
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Human rights challenges in the age of new information and communication technologies (part II): HDIM 2015, Session 3

The Internet has revolutionized the way we receive and share information. As more and more people around the globe gain access to the Internet, we have seen a dramatic change in the ease with which ideas and information can be disseminated. States have affirmed the freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart ...
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Human rights challenges in the age of new information and communication technologies: HDIM 2015, Session 2

The United States has always valued privacy, and it remains central to policy debate today, in the age of the Internet and smart phones. In the last decade, the Internet has facilitated a renewal of direct political engagement by citizens around the globe and unprecedented information sharing. Much of this innovation is enabled by novel ...
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Opening Plenary Statement: HDIM 2015

Forty years ago, the Helsinki Final Act committed participating States to work together to seek “peace, security and justice” with the objective of “promoting better relations among themselves and ensuring conditions in which their people can live in true and lasting peace free from any threat to or attempt against their security.” The Helsinki Final ...
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Response to the Report by the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo: Statement to the PC

The United States welcomes Ambassador Schlumberger back to the Permanent Council for another comprehensive and detailed report. Ambassador Schlumberger, as you noted in your report, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK) remains a trusted and reliable partner to local and international institutions and communities. The Mission’s focus on key areas – including human rights and cross-dimensional issues such ...
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On the Release of Political Prisoners in Belarus: Statement to the PC

For many years, and as recently as May, the United States has used the Permanent Council to call on the government of Belarus to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and to restore fully their political and civil rights. Consequently, the United States welcomes the August 22 release from prison in Belarus of Mikalai ...
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Reply to Azerbaijan Regarding Implementation of OSCE Commitments: Statement to the PC

I wanted to respond to a couple of points. I won’t repeat the point I made earlier about responding to concerns with accusations which I think doesn’t make for a strong response. But I would say that it also applies here. I just wanted to clarify two things, though. First, I wholeheartedly agree with our ...
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Reply to Azerbaijan on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Azerbaijan: Statement to the PC

I’d like to thank our distinguished Azerbaijani colleague for his response. I just wanted to address a couple of points that he raised. First, the idea that this is “just a few cases”: I think part of the concern that was raised – not only by my delegation but also by others – is that ...
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Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Azerbaijan: Statement to the PC

The United States is deeply troubled by the decision of an Azerbaijani court to sentence human rights and peace advocates Leyla and Arif Yunus, who have been detained for more than a year, to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively. Their convictions appear to be solely connected with their human rights work and participation in ...
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On human rights concerns in Tajikistan: Statement to the PC

I would like to follow up on a statement made by the European Union at the PC on July 2. The United States expresses its deep concern over the Government of Tajikistan’s ongoing attempts to silence voices of political opposition members, both within Tajikistan and abroad. As we have previously noted, international observers characterized Tajikistan’s ...
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On the Release of the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Statement to the PC

On June 25, Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. These reports, commonly known as the Human Rights Reports, cover the status of human rights in countries around the world. While our reports continue to focus on the behavior of governments – which are ultimately responsible for the ...
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On Uzbek Human Rights Defenders Elena Urlaeva and Azam Farmonov: Statement to the PC

The United States would like to draw attention to two human rights-related cases in Uzbekistan. The United States is deeply concerned about recent reports that respected human rights activist Elena Urlaeva was detained and subjected to an unnecessary and humiliating search by local authorities in the city of Chinaz, Uzbekistan, on May 31, 2015. While ...
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Response to Belgian FM Didier Reynders’ address to OSCE as Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers: Statement to the PC

Foreign Minister Reynders, we warmly welcome you to the Permanent Council and thank you for your presentation in your capacity as the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Your remarks made clear that issues of central concern to this Permanent Council – such as the situation in Ukraine and the ...
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Joint Statement on the Rights to Freedom of Expression, Association, and Peaceful Assembly: 2014 OSCE Ministerial Council

This statement is delivered on behalf of more than forty participating States that have co-sponsored the draft Ministerial Decisions on the right to freedom of expression and the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. This year we have seen regression in the implementation of fundamental freedoms and other human rights. We are convinced ...
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Closing Reinforced Plenary: Any Other Business | HDIM 2014

The United States for several years has used this agenda item to follow up on the recommendations made by the fact-finding missions resulting from the invocation of the Moscow Mechanism concerning Turkmenistan and Belarus.  Because the conditions that gave rise to invocations of the Mechanism remain ongoing, my delegation will again address these serious issues.  ...
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Closing Plenary Statement | HDIM 2014

Comprehensive security is the backbone of the OSCE and in the 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act that principle has never been more important. The Human Dimension becomes all the more important given the recent violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Some participating States have retreated in implementing their human rights ...
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