The United States will oppose attempts to curb civil society access to the OSCE, said USOSCE Chargé d’Affaires Harry Kamian at a working breakfast with a group of civil society representatives on Wednesday, December 6.
Chargé Kamian and others from the United States delegation met the group on the final morning of a major NGO conference held in Vienna, Austria, in advance of the 2017 OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting.
The activists acknowledged the important role that civil society plays within the OSCE and voiced their concerns about growing restrictions on civil society in parts of the OSCE region, as well as attempts to limit civil society’s ability to participate in the work of international organizations like the OSCE.
In response, Chargé Kamian stressed the important role that civil society plays within the OSCE. He reiterated the United States’ support for civil society and reaffirmed the U.S. would oppose attempts by OSCE participating States to reduce or unduly restrict civil society’s access to and participation in OSCE proceedings.
Chargé Kamian and the members of civil society also exchanged ideas for increasing communication between participating States.
In his December 8 remarks at the closing session of the 2017 OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting, Chargé Kamian referred to his meeting with civil society, commending them on their work.
“The United States will oppose any attempts to reduce or unduly restrict civil society’s access to and participation in OSCE proceedings, and will continue to champion the courageous efforts of civil society activists across the region,” Chargé Kamian said.