tagged w/ OSCE
European and North American governments are not taking sufficient action to stem rising rates of violent hate crimes -- fueled by racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other biases, says an annual survey by a human rights monitor.
"Available data indicates that violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity bias is a significant portion of violent hate crimes overall and are characterized by levels of physical violence that in some cases exceed those present in other hate crimes," summarizes Human Rights First in an overview of the survey.
In Bosnia, the activist group Citizens of Sarajevo is taking a stand against increasing violence aimed at sexual and gender minorities -- particularly attacks perpetrated at the capital city's recent Queer Festival -- and calling on the international community to do the same.
2008 Hate Crime Survey
From: Human Rights First
Hate crime continues to rise in many parts of Europe and North America according to our 2008 Hate Crime Survey, a second annual report examining bias-driven violence in 2007 and 2008.
The 2008 Hate Crime Survey includes sections examining six facets of violent hate crime in the 56 countries that comprise the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Survey also examines government responses to violent hate crimes in sections on Systems of Monitoring and Reporting and The Framework of Criminal Law and includes a Ten-Point Plan for governments to strengthen their responses. The Survey also takes an in-depth look at the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States and contains a Country Panorama section that profiles individual hate crime cases from more than 30 countries within the OSCE. European and North American governments are not taking sufficient action to stem... more
Despite claims that Sunday's elections were free and fair, loyalists of Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko won every seat in parliament. On Monday, OSCE observers said the vote had fallen short of Western standards.
A day after Sunday's election, Belarus' Central Elections Commission announced that all 110 seats of the lower house were going to allies of President Alexander Lukashenko, whom the US has dubbed "Europe's last dictator." It wasn't long before international election observers delivered their verdict: The vote was flawed.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe said that, despite "minor improvements," the polls had fallen short of Western standards. In its preliminary report, the OSCE said that "voting was generally well conducted, but the process deteriorated considerably during the vote count."
The OSCE, which had deployed some 450 observers in Belarus for the elections, said that the count was "bad or very bad" at 48 percent of the polling stations its representatives had visited. Monitors had been prevented from observing the count in 35 percent of the cases and, where they had managed to gain access, they saw "several cases of deliberate falsification of results."
(continues at link)Despite claims that Sunday's elections were free and fair, loyalists of... more
Global Research Editor's Note
The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) is an intergovernmental body with 56 member States. It is currently chaired by Finland. The OSCE works closely with the UN, NATO and the EU. It is not by any means a pro-Russian organization. In fact quite the opposite. The report is a slap in the face for the US. It also points to massive media disinformation regarding what actually happened.
30/08/2008 17:07 BERLIN, August 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has accumulated evidence pointing to "numerous wrong decisions" made by Georgian leaders that led to a military crisis with Russia, Der Spiegel said on Saturday.
In a report to be published in its Monday edition, OSCE military observers in the Caucasus described detailed planning by Georgia to move into South Ossetia which contributed to the crisis, the German magazine said.
The report also backed up Russian claims that the Georgian offensive was already in full swing by the time Russian troops and armored vehicles entered the Roksky Tunnel, on the border with Russia and South Ossetia, to protect its peacekeepers and the civilian population.
The OSCE report also contains suspected war crimes committed by Georgians, who ordered attacks on sleeping South Ossetian civilians.
Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to regain control over the separatist republic, which split from Tbilisi in the early 1990s.
Most people living in South Ossetia have Russian citizenship and Moscow subsequently launched an operation to "force Georgia to accept peace." The operation was concluded on August 12.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees Tuesday recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.
Russia has accused Georgia of committing "genocide" by launching the offensive in South Ossetia. Russia is calling for an international war crimes trial for the Georgian leadership, which Moscow says is responsible for massive loss of life in South Ossetia.
Global Research Editor's Note
The Organization for Security and Cooperation... more
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for more monitors from Europe's security body the OSCE to be deployed in Georgia, a Kremlin statement said.
It said they would provide "impartial monitoring" of Tbilisi's actions following a war between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia this month.
Earlier, Mr Medvedev spoke by phone to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
He said Russia recognised Georgia's regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia because of Tbilisi's aggression.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also spoke with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Saturday, according to the AFP agency.
The conversations came ahead of an extraordinary EU meeting set to start on Monday, where Russia's recognition of the two territories is likely to be strongly criticised.
The Kremlin statement said Mr Medvedev told Mr Brown that the Georgian aggression "fundamentally altered the conditions in which, during 17 years, attempts were made to the settle the relations between South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia".
The conflict in the region began on 7 August when Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia by force after a series of lower-level clashes.
Russia launched a counter-attack and the Georgian troops were ejected from both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian troops continued their operation, advancing deep inside Georgia's territory.
An EU-brokered ceasefire brought a formal end to the conflict five days later, although each side has accused the other of breaking the agreement.
Russia has since withdrawn the bulk of its force and says the troops left behind are serving as peacekeepers.
Georgia has described them as an occupation force, announcing that it is cutting diplomatic relations with Moscow.
The Kremlin statement said Russia was "in favour of the deployment of additional OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] monitors in the security zone" in Georgia.
Earlier this month, the OSCE decided to increase the number of its military observers by up 100 in Georgia.
The Russian statement also said that Moscow "looks forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue with EU, other international organisations, as well as individual countries".
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This call is putting the ball back into the EU's court - it will be very interesting to see what the EU will do, how it will react. If it refuses, it will betray the real agenda of the US which is manipulating the EU. If it accepts, it will totally defuse the whole situation. One thing is for sure, Georgia isn't anywhere close to becoming a member of NATO.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for more monitors from Europe's... more