Czech minister believes Ukraine will fulfil human rights pledges

Český ministr zahraničí v demisi Jan Kohout (dole uprostřed) se 5. prosince v ukrajinském Kyjevě zúčastnil schůzky ministrů zahraničí Organizace pro bezpečnost a spolupráci v Evropě (OBSE).

published: 05.12.2013, 13:26 | updated: 05.12.2013 13:27:22

Kiev - Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said he believes that Ukraine will honour its human rights and freedoms commitments, at a two-day meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe´s (OSCE) foreign ministers that started in Kiev today.

The meeting is taking place in an atmosphere of demonstrations against the Ukrainian government that decided to suspend the process of integration with the European Union. On Saturday the police took a hard action against the protesters for which the West criticised it.

Kohout recalled the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) of 1975 that embedded the OSCE principles, a successor organisation to the CSCE.

Kohout said the OSCE countries back these principles and they believe that Ukraine, that holds the OSCE chairmanship now, will fulfil its role.

He pointed out that the OSCE states´ security depends to a great degree on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The right to peaceful assembly is one of the fundamental rights, he said.

The Helsinki +40 Process, to follow up the CSCE Final Act on the 40th anniversary of its signature in 2015, is a source of new impulses for OSCE activities, Kohout said.

He said unfortunately lack of political will has as yet prevented the full use of the opportunities offered by the OSCE.

Kohout said the Helsinki +40 Process will only be successful if the OSCE does not shun key problems such as resolutions on the protracted conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno Karabakh, revival of programmes to check conventional arms and a better implementation of human rights commitments.

Kohout said the adaptation of the OSCE to the present-day world should not be interpreted as a call to challenge the results attained as yet. The maintenance of OSCE institutions´ independence is a priority, Kohout said.

He voiced disagreement with the attempts of some participating states to restrict the institutions´ independence, mandate and budget or any challenging of the methodology of elections independent monitoring.

Kohout said the Czech Republic, a member of the Internet Freedom Coalition, is striving for raising journalists´ protection, particularly at a time when violent assaults on them, their intimidation and persecution on the OSCE territory are growing.


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