OSCE Chairperson meets international human rights NGOs, encourages open dialogue
VILNIUS, 19 January 2011 – The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, met representatives from international non-governmental organizations in Vilnius today and invited them to take part in an open dialogue with Lithuania’s 2011 OSCE Chairmanship.
Minister Ažubalis met representatives from international non-governmental human rights organizations from the International Civic Initiative for the OSCE, offered to maintain a regular dialogue and urged them to actively participate in OSCE eventsand thereby contribute to the OSCE’s work.
“OSCE is unique as we bring non-governmental organizations into the heart of our decision-making. Civil society‘s participation in the work of the OSCE is greatly valued. Co-operation and a mutual exchange of views are very important, and Lithuania is ready to continue a lively and very open dialogue with civil society,“ said Minister Ažubalis, who emphasized that the promotion of media freedom and pluralism as well as tolerance were among the priorities of Lithuania’s Chairmanship.
“We welcome constructive, focused and consolidated civil society recommendations on all issues concerning the OSCE human dimension.”
He added that he planned to meet representatives of civil society during his forthcoming visits to Moscow and Washington, as well as to countries with OSCE field operations in the South Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South-Eastern Europe.
The NGO representatives from Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine attending today’s meeting conveyed an appeal by the International Civic Initiative for the OSCE on co-operation during Lithuania’s Chairmanship. The appeal calls for civil society’s role in the OSCE’s work to be strengthened and sets out guidelines and proposals for co-operation with the OSCE Chairmanship. Established in April 2010, the International Civic Initiative for the OSCE comprises 11 international non-governmental human rights organizations.