Washington: The upcoming meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe or OSCE will be crucial in helping to end human rights violations that have resulted from the war and conflict in Ukraine.
That̵7;s the view of Michael Carpenter, the US Permanent Representative to the OSCE, who recently spoke to Arab News about the group’s annual ministerial council gathering in Lodz, Poland, from December 1-2.
Carpenter said OSCE officials could discuss expanding the organisation’s work to deal with issues including human trafficking and election monitoring.
Strongly criticizing Russia for its role in the conflict, Carpenter said European countries have recently held talks with Moscow and Kyiv for “de-escalation”.
Carpenter’s comments come in the wake of US news outlets reporting over the past two weeks of a secret meeting in Ankara, Turkey, between CIA director Bill Burns and his Russian intelligence counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin. The meeting was part of ongoing US efforts to “communicate with Russia on managing the risk” of possible nuclear escalation.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the meeting to Arab News, citing a lack of authorization to speak about the CIA director’s schedule.
The OSCE has 57 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America and works to promote human rights and democratic governance through election monitoring and combating human trafficking.
It serves as a forum for dialogue on global issues affecting member states and has 13 field missions in the Western Balkans, Central Asia and Moldova. Soon a new office will be established in Ukraine.
Carpenter said a new field mission, called the Assistance Program for Ukraine, was inaugurated on 1 November, funded by “generous contributions” from the US and other voluntary support.
“Through the presence of this new zone, we intend to support projects that will contribute to increasing the resilience of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, humanitarian destruction (and) mitigation of the environmental impacts of war,” he said.
The US delegation – led by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland – will include representatives from the 57 OSCE participating states and 11 partner states.
Carpenter said that the most important topic of the upcoming meeting is the war in Ukraine. “The real story of the OSCE is not what is said but what is done.”
He said that OSCE states take decisions on the basis of consensus. It has three autonomous bodies – the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Representative on Freedom of the Media and the High Commissioner on National Minorities.
“The OSCE has a number of Special Representatives who work on extremely important issues such as anti-corruption, combating human trafficking, supporting gender equality and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination,” he said.
She noted that in Tajikistan, for example, the OSCE supports women’s resource centers that provide government-sanctioned outlets for victims of domestic violence. They have access to legal aid, psychological support and assistance with finding employment.
“In the Western Balkans and Central Asia, our field missions support efforts to document and secure small arms and light weapons stockpiles to enhance stability and security in many of these societies after conflict.”
Carpenter said the war in Ukraine resulted in the OSCE raising awareness of the risks of human trafficking by using an innovative public-private partnership that delivers information to the smartphones of those most at risk.