Press Release: United States Joins 21 Other Partner OSCE Delegations in Presenting the 2017 Democracy Defender Award to Russia’s Golos Movement
U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel B. Baer joined 21 other OSCE delegations in presenting the 2017 Democracy Defender Award to the Golos Movement, an association of independent affiliates working to protect electoral rights in Russia. Golos Movement Co-Chair Iurii Gurman accepted the award on behalf of his organization at a ceremony today at Schwedenhaus in Vienna, Austria.
“At a time when independent voices and civil society are under threat in Russia and across the OSCE region, I was proud to stand with so many of my fellow OSCE Ambassadors in recognizing the Golos Movement for its work to support and strengthen Russian civil society, and to inform Russian citizens about the electoral process,” Ambassador Baer stated on the margins of the event. “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,” he said.
The Golos Movement was founded in 2013 after unprecedented pressure forced the former association “Golos,” which had been active in civil election monitoring in Russia since 2000, to cease its activities.
The 22 OSCE delegations presenting the award included the delegations of Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Supporting civil society and human rights defenders remains a priority for the United States. The U.S. Mission was proud to stand with so many partners from across the OSCE to recognize those working to protect and defend democratic principles, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.
FULL VIDEO of the event is available online at: https://youtu.be/95hCIUKGbgg.