WARSAW, 21 September 2012 – Some 1,000 government representatives and civil society activists from the OSCE’s 56 participating States will gather in Warsaw for a two-week conference beginning 24 September to review progress in implementing the commitments adopted by governments in the field of human rights and democracy.
Adam Rotfeld, the former Foreign Minister of Poland, will deliver a keynote address to open the conference, which is organized by the Warsaw-based OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The conference scrutinizes achievements made by participating States in honouring their human rights commitments, including in areas such as freedom of assembly and other fundamental freedoms, the prevention of hate crimes, the rule of law, gender equality and trafficking in human beings.
This year’s meeting will feature special sessions on Roma and Sinti, and the empowerment of Roma women in particular; freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; and the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
The meeting will play an important role in setting the OSCE’s human rights agenda ahead of the annual gathering of OSCE foreign ministers, which will take place in Dublin in December.
The conference is unique in that civil society groups have full access to working sessions and can discuss challenges with government representatives on an equal footing.
On the margins of the meeting, more than 50 side events organized by governments, civil society groups and OSCE institutions and field operations will highlight specific topics of concern and country situations.
Senior representatives from the government of Poland as the host country, of the Irish OSCE Chairmanship and of OSCE institutions will take part in the opening session.
Representatives of the OSCE’s 12 partner countries from the Mediterranean region, Asia and Australia are also participating in the conference.
Journalists are invited to attend the opening session, which will begin at 10:00 on Monday, 24 September, in Hotel Sofitel Victoria, ul. Krolewska, Warsaw, as well as all regular working sessions and side events.
The agenda, a list of side events and other information are available in English and Russian on the conference website: http://www.osce.org/hdim_2012
Follow the conference on ODIHR’s Facebook page, or on Twitter at @osce_odihr