In Response to Head of OSCE Programme Office and Director of OSCE Academy in Bishkek

Response to the Report by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan, Ambassador Pierre von Arx (USOSCE Photo)

Response to Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek, Ambassador Pierre von Arx, and
the Director of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Dr. Alexander Wolters

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry R. Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
June 6, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The United States welcomes Ambassador von Arx and Dr. Wolters to the Permanent Council. We thank you both for your remarks, and for the timely submission of your written report. The United States both values and supports the work of the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek in all three dimensions.

Ambassador, the United States welcomes your Office’s efforts to counter violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism, including radicalization in places of detention, as well as your support for combating terrorist financing and money laundering. We value the Office’s work on law enforcement reform, including increasing the use of the Mobile Police Reception units, and development of an Advance Passenger Information (API) system.

Kyrgyzstan committed to transparency and accountability when it joined the Open Government Partnership. We welcome the Program Office’s efforts to help Kyrgyzstan fulfill these commitments by fostering broad civil society participation in the preparation of a National Action Plan that will help Kyrgyzstan provide high quality, transparent, and efficient public services. We also support your assistance to the government of Kyrgyzstan’s fight against corruption and financial crimes, including the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Council.

Mr. Ambassador, the United States also supports Program Office activities to promote human rights, democratization, rule of law, and gender equality.

We are optimistic that a new provision criminalizing domestic violence, which had previously been addressed as an administrative offense, will strengthen protection for all victims, including women and girls. Last week marked one year since the killing of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a 20-year-old victim of bride kidnapping who was stabbed by her abductor in a police station. While those responsible for her death have been held accountable, more must be done to prevent these heinous crimes.

The Office is helping Kyrgyzstan strengthen the judicial system; advance penitentiary reform; and prevent torture, including by supporting independent civil society monitoring visits to prisons. We appreciate the Office’s activities to support freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, including by the media.

The United States also values the Office’s activities to strengthen Kyrgyzstan’s electoral system and build capacity in the parliament. We appreciated Kyrgyzstan’s hosting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Fall Session in Bishkek last October.

I also want to welcome Dr. Wolters, director of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. The Academy is a key element to the Office’s work. We are pleased that the Academy is funded through 2019. As a donor, the United States urges other participating States to support this important educational institution. A greater share of the Academy’s funding should come from the Unified Budget to ensure its activities are more sustainable.
Thank you again, Ambassador von Arx, Dr. Wolters, and your teams for your excellent work.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.