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Serious problems of the organization were revealed at the meeting of the OSCE ODIHR

On September 24 in Warsaw opened an annual meeting to review the implementation of the commitments in the human dimension, adopted by all OSCE participating States. The event was organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The meeting will last until October 5.

 

The meeting was attended by the Director of the international organization of election observation CIS-EMO and the head of the mission in Ukraine Alexey Kochetkov.

 

President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ricardo Malori addressed the plenary meeting with unexpected criticism of the OSCE ODIHR. He noted that due to the ODIHR, "OSCE is risking to step away from the right path in the sphere of human rights", however "OSCE postponed the matter of human rights protection aside. Meanwhile, the main activity of the ODIHR is to help the citizens".

 

Ricardo Malori also stressed that "partnership in monitoring elections in the OSCE participating states should be based on fair cooperation", in his opinion, "there is a conflict between the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE and the ODIHR". This conflict is related to the activities of certain European officials who have forgotten "for what purpose do they exist". "The ODIHR should return to their roots"- says the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

 

Ricardo Malori also reproached ODIHR for disproportionate budget expenses, he said that "More than 42% of the ODIHR budget is spent on the election monitoring, while impermissibly little attention is paid to another vitally important

areas, in particular this can be said of the monitoring of the judicial system". Activities of the heads of ODIHR in the budget management complicates implementation of the core functions of the organization.

 

Taking part in the meeting General Director of CIS-EMO Alexey Kochetkov commented the speech of Riccardo Malori:

 

«In my opinion, by far the main problem of the OSCE ODIHR is deviation from the initial tasks that were declared when creating the Bureau. This is evident both to outside observers and to those who worked closely with the structure. I am in agreement with those of my colleagues in the independent monitoring of the election process, who believe that it is necessary to return to the principles that not only were declared when creating the Office, but were really fundamental in the initial stage of its existence. We believe that the main joint task of the OSCE ODIHR and relevant NGOs involved in monitoring elections, should be joint promotion of the improvement of electoral systems in member states of the OSCE. In those countries where elections are held, international observers should help civil society to relieve arising in the course of election campaigns tensions. They should make every effort to promote the strengthening of the rule of law in those countries where elections are held, if there are any doubts or conflicts over this fundamental principle. They have to deal with the sources of these conflicts, but in any case they should not take someone's side and even more so should not themselves become subjects of elections or participants of confrontation. Unfortunately, the ODIHR increasingly often commits this very mistake, allowing to transform itself from an independent arbitrator into a lawyer of one of the parties, as is happening in Ukraine now».

Comments

The Commonwealth may provide obersvers to ensure that elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself as a member of the Commonwealth, and provide recommendations on how the process can be further improved. Questions arise as to whether the Commonwealth can insist on sending obersvers in the face of a government opposition, how soon in advance of elections can obersvers be sent, and whether related issues are considered such as, for example, freedom of the press and television to present views in opposition to a government. I refer specifically to the situation in Malaysia where the non-aligned Bersih movement has held two large rallies relating to electoral issues, with the demand that international obersvers should be allowed to be present during forthcoming national elections.

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