Mal­tese Par­lia­men­tary del­e­ga­tion at­tends OSCE PA 2016 au­tumn meet­ing

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment God­frey Far­ru­gia led a par­lia­men­tary del­e­ga­tion to the 15th au­tumn meet­ing of the OSCE PA held in Skopje, the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, on 29 Septem­ber till 2 Oc­to­ber. The del­e­ga­tion com­prised of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment Frederick Az­zopardi and Sil­vio Par­nis.

Con­sist­ing of a Mediter­ranean Fo­rum, Par­lia­men­tary Con­fer­ence and meet­ing of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, the au­tumn meet­ing pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from across the OSCE re­gion to de­bate im­por­tant top­ics re­lated to OSCE com­mit­ments and val­ues. The theme of this year’s par­lia­men­tary con­fer­ence was ‘Strength­en­ing con­fi­dence­build­ing mea­sures and good gov­er­nance in the OSCE re­gion’.

Mr Az­zopardi in­ter­vened dur­ing the Mediter­ranean Fo­rum on the se­cu­rity chal­lenges re­sult­ing from the refugee and mi­gra­tion cri­sis, ter­ror­ism and radicalisation. He urged the OSCE to make a con­certed ef­fort to find ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able so­lu­tions to these dif­fi­cult chal­lenges. It is only through a sound ju­di­cial sys­tem and the rule of law that na­tions can face these chal­lenges.

In re­la­tion to this, he men­tioned the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute on Jus­tice and the Rule of Law which is based in Malta. This In­sti­tute is an emerg­ing re­gional ac­tor in the fight against ter­ror­ism and in es­tab­lish­ing im­por­tant re­gional co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms which are fo­cused on a more prac­ti­cal ap­proach. The mi­gra­tion cri­sis con­tin­ues to af­fect the cen­tral Mediter­ranean re­gion and the re­sult­ing se­cu­rity chal­lenges are multi-di­men­sional and trans­bor­der in their na­ture.

Mr Az­zopardi ar­gued that the dec­la­ra­tion in the Helsinki Fi­nal Act that se­cu­rity in Europe is to be con­sid­ered in the broader con­text of world se­cu­rity and is closely linked with se­cu­rity in the Mediter­ranean area as a whole is now more rel­e­vant than ever be­fore. This dec­la­ra­tion should not only guide the OSCE in its work but it also presents an op­por­tu­nity to em­pha­sise the strate­gic im­por­tance Mediter­ranean.

He also made ref­er­ence to the Mal­tese pro­posal on ap­point­ing an OSCE Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Mediter­ranean as this would strengthen the role of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in the re­gion.

In his in­ter­ven­tion dur­ing the de­bate, Dr Far­ru­gia ar­gued that a holis­tic mi­gra­tion strat­egy in the OSCE area as a whole and in its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries is of the ut­most im­por­tance and that the mi­gra­tion cri­sis in the Mediter­ranean needs to be ad­dressed to­gether with the mi­gra­tion cri­sis that other Euro­pean coun­tries are fac­ing.

He also men­tioned the failed at­tempt of the to adopt a de­ci­sion on mi­gra­tion at last year’s OSCE Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil which would have bol­stered the role of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in the field of mi­gra­tion. He hopes an agree­ment will be reached later this year.

Dr Far­ru­gia also re­ferred to the Val­letta Sum­mit which was held in Malta last year and the jointlya­greed 16-point ac­tion plan which will hope­fully be im­ple­mented by the end of 2016.

Dur­ing the last ses­sion of the au­tumn meet­ing en­ti­tled ‘Im­prov­ing hu­man rights-based gov­er­nance of in­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion’, Mr Az­zopardi in­ter­vened on the is­sue of mi­gra­tion. This time, he high­lighted the plight of many ir­reg­u­lar mi­grants who find work in the black econ­omy, which ul­ti­mately leads to their ex­ploita­tion and marginal­i­sa­tion.

He added that hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions against mi­grants, in­clud­ing deny­ing them ba­sic hu­man rights such as ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and health­care, are closely linked with dis­crim­i­na­tory laws and prac­tices, prej­u­dice and xeno­pho­bia. Mi­grants’ rights are hu­man rights as en­shrined in the Con­ven­tion for the pro­tec­tion of Hu­man Rights and Fun­da­men­tal Free­doms and EU leg­is­la­tion and it is the duty of the state to guar­an­tee that these are guar­an­teed and safe­guarded.

He ar­gued that it is now high time to stop ut­ter­ing words and to de­liver re­sults in­stead. The most ur­gent chal­lenge is how to pro­tect the hu­man rights of many in­no­cent vic­tims of war, ter­ror­ism and cli­mate change. This is not only im­por­tant for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions but also to avoid tragic loss of life. These are not easy tar­gets but we must nonethe­less com­mit our­selves to take ac­tion.

Mr Par­nis stressed that mi­gra­tion can­not be dis­cussed with­out in­cor­po­rat­ing the is­sue of hu­man rights. He said that this does not con­sti­tute a prob­lem in it­self, but a chal­lenge, an op­por­tu­nity which all of us can ben­e­fit from. For this to hap­pen, it is cru­cial to fo­cus on mi­grants’ in­te­gra­tion in the host so­ci­ety and sol­i­dar­ity be­tween states. He ar­gued that mi­grants do jobs which in some cases the lo­cals are no longer in­ter­ested in. Fur­ther­more, mi­grants tend to work longer shifts for less pay.

He praised what the EU and or­gan­i­sa­tions like the OSCE are do­ing but stressed that more still needs to be done. The chal­lenge is two-faceted: On the one hand, the mi­grants them­selves who leave their coun­try in search for a bet­ter life, and on the other, the state re­ceiv­ing them which must re­spect a num­ber of obli­ga­tions.

Ap­prox­i­mately 115 mil­lion mi­grants live in de­vel­oped coun­tries and 33% of these live in Europe; 75% of whom live in only 28 coun­tries. He ar­gued that mi­grants’ hu­man dig­nity must be up­held at all times, con­sid­er­ing the liv­ing con­di­tions in the refugee camps.

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