Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

OSCE fails in human rights meeting

Eamon Gilmore has expressed his disappointment that the OSCE has failed to reach an agreement on human rights

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he is disappointed that an international security committee sitting in Dublin failed to reach an agreement on human rights.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held talks on a package of decisions regarding the issue - the human rights dimension.

But all 57 states making up the ministerial council failed to sign off on it, meaning topics including freedom of media, racism and xenophobia could not be resolved.

"I'm very disappointed that it wasn't possible to get agreement among all of the 57 states here in relation to the human rights dimension in the OSCE," Mr Gilmore said.

The Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister, who also serves as chairperson-in-office of the OSCE, said Ireland had worked hard to put forward the proposals and had previously brought together participating states and experts from the online industry to support them.

For proposals to be passed and introduced as OSCE strategy, the council requires that all 57 states be in agreement.

The human rights dimension had the support of just over 50. Mr Gilmore said the lack of consensus was a matter of regret and revealed a worrying trend of recent ministerial council meetings.

"Of even greater concern is the sad reality that respect for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms is currently under great threat in many parts of the OSCE region," he said.

However, he added that the states that were in agreement had signed up to a commitment to apply the standards and freedoms normally associated with press freedom and freedom of speech, to the internet and online media.

"So, the positive here is that while we didn't get a formal agreement, because it has to be agreed by consensus among all 57 states, we now have over 50 states that are signed up, committed to high standards of freedom in the media - particularly online media and digital media," the Tanaiste said.

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