Swiss OSCE Chairmanship and OSCE Mission to Serbia support regional dialogue of civil society on torture prevention and fight against hate crime
BELGRADE, 24 February 2014 -- Strengthening the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Western Balkans in preventing torture and in fighting hate speech, especially against Roma, is the focus of a two-day regional workshop starting in Belgrade today.
Some 50 representatives from regional CSOs and Ombudspersons’ offices are taking part in the discussion, organized jointly by the 2014 Swiss OSCE Chairmanship, and the Civic Solidarity Platform, including its co-founder the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia.
“Strengthening the links with civil society and promoting its active involvement is a priority of the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE,” stated Swiss Ambassador to Serbia, Jean-Daniel Ruch. “National preventive mechanisms to combat torture, such as the one in Serbia, are an example of constructive interaction between government and civil society in this field.”
“We encourage CSOs to shed light on hate crime and torture,” said Ambassador Peter Burkhard, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia. “Civil society can play a decisive role in identifying cases of torture and hate crime, facilitating dialogue and building trust between citizens and relevant state authorities responsible to pursue such cases,” he added.
The Belgrade event is the first in a series of four regional workshops that will be organized in Vienna, Tbilisi and Dushanbe. The outcomes of the workshops will be compiled in a set of recommendations for the Civil Society Conference in the context of the Ministerial Council in Basel to be held in December 2014. Under the leitmotiv: “Creating a Security Community for the benefit of everyone,” the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is engaged in a dialogue with civil society to steer the implementation OSCE commitments with a view to improving people’s lives.