All Articles containing the tag: OSCE SPECIAL MONITORING MISSION TO UKRAINE

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


“OSCE, keep going!”
Photo: OSCE/Evgeniy Maloletka
27 April 2017 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

“OSCE, keep going!”

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) is the only organization on the ground in eastern Ukraine that provides impartial facts about a confusing conflict that has been going on since 2014. During the past three years, the OSCE SMM has performed essential work in a dangerous conflict environment for which it receives far too little attention and recognition. The roughly 600 international, unarmed, civilian OSCE monitors go on patrol daily in the Donbass region to monitor the ceasefire that has been agreed upon in the Minsk Agreements. Last Sunday, such an OSCE patrol ended in a fatal incident.

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Austrian OSCE Chairmanship pushes for strengthening of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
Photo: OSCE/Evgeny Maloletka
20 February 2017 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Austrian OSCE Chairmanship pushes for strengthening of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine is currently the only large-scale international presence on the ground in eastern Ukraine. The more than 600 OSCE monitors report regularly about ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine and have thus become "the eyes and ears" of the international community on the ground. The OSCE SMM is composed of civilian, unarmed monitors, seconded by the 57 OSCE participating States. Maintaining the security of the OSCE monitors is thus of vital importance.

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Ukraine at the center of discussions of the Normandy Format in Berlin
Photo: www.kremlin.ru
27 October 2016 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Ukraine at the center of discussions of the Normandy Format in Berlin

Leaders of the Normandy Format (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine) met in Berlin on 19 October to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. The situation in Syria was also on the agenda, but it was discussed only among Germany, France and Russia. Regarding Ukraine three key issues emerged from the talks in Berlin. First, leaders agreed to work out a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements by the end of November. Second, leaders failed to extend disengagement areas in eastern Ukraine. Third, the possibility of an armed OSCE police mission, that could be part of a larger plan to ensure the security of local elections in Donbas, was raised. 

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Interview with Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE
Photo: Colin Peters/USOSCE
16 September 2016 - 0

Interview with Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE

On 7 September Stephanie Liechtenstein met with Daniel Baer, the US Ambassador to the OSCE, for an interview in Vienna. Ambassador Baer is a strong supporter of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and a staunch defender of fundamental human rights across the OSCE region. In this interview, Ambassador Baer talks about the situation in Ukraine and stresses that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements is the best framework for a permanent, political solution to the conflict. He underlines the need for the international community to continue to press for complete, free and unfettered access for OSCE monitors to all areas in eastern Ukraine. He stresses that the most important aspect is for Russia to give a signal to its proxies on the ground in Ukraine that it does not want the OSCE monitors to be obstructed, harassed or shot at. Ambassador Baer describes the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine as a "dystopia that is run by armed thugs with machine guns patrolling the streets." He believes that the security environment will have to change significantly before free and fair local elections can be run in eastern Ukraine. He does not exclude that at that point an armed presence may be needed to help ensure a safe environment for the elections. Apart from the situation in Ukraine, Ambassador Baer provides his views on the OSCE role in managing the migration and refugee flows, on the upcoming Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw as well as on the upcoming Presidential Elections in the United States.

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At the Frontlines of Peace: Should the OSCE send Armed Personnel to eastern Ukraine?
Photo: OSCE/Evgeniy Maloletka
21 June 2016 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

At the Frontlines of Peace: Should the OSCE send Armed Personnel to eastern Ukraine?

In recent weeks, confusing information appeared in the international media on the OSCE deploying armed personnel or an armed OSCE police mission to eastern Ukraine, in an endeavor to ensure the security of possible local elections in the Donbas region at some point in the future. This article stresses that currently there is no indication that a formal agreement on this topic has been reached, and that any form of armed security provider can only be deployed once the 57 OSCE states take a formal decision on this by consensus. It should not be ignored that the single most important precondition for holding local elections in eastern Ukraine is a permissive security environment that enables the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to observe the elections in line with its standards.

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The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration
Photo: MFA Serbia
17 December 2015 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

The 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council in Belgrade: An Anniversary without Celebration

On 3 and 4 December 2015, the yearly OSCE Ministerial Council (MC) meeting took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The MC meeting, which is attended by foreign ministers or their representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States, provides an opportunity to discuss the Organization's yearly achievements and gives overall guidance and impetus for future work. The MC is mandated to take decisions on any topic relevant to the work of the OSCE. This year's meeting in Belgrade was attended by 42 foreign ministers. The meeting was characterized by entrenched positions and it illustrated the distrust and deep divide among participating States. The Belgrade MC adopted only 5 declarations, among them on combating violent extremism and radicalization and on combating illicit drug trafficking. The fact that states were able to create consensus only on such a small number of declarations is due to the divergent views participating States hold on the root causes of the Ukraine conflict. The deep divide that this conflict has created among participating States of the OSCE had a negative influence on negotiations. In addition, a number of bilateral conflicts between states negatively influenced and overshadowed the negotiation process. In fact, a small number of states allowed their differences over other conflicts take a direct influence on the OSCE negotiation process. 

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