On Thursday and Friday of last week the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe hosted the “Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association, with Emphasis on Freedom of Association” at the Hofburg in Vienna .
As posted last Friday, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff read an intervention on behalf of Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at the conference on April 17. The posted text was from the full version of the intervention; time constraints required that a shortened version be read out at the plenary.
Below is a video of Elisabeth’s presentation. Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this clip:
The prepared text of Elisabeth’s abbreviated intervention is below the jump.
Intervention by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Vienna, April 17, 2015
Non-Discrimination and the Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly
We are grateful to the OSCE for the opportunity to speak out at forums such as this one.
In this context, allow me to note that there are also “downward spiral effects” seen recently in participating States west of Vienna. I very much appreciate your comments, Madam Introducer, however, I would like to remind everyone that there are many groups west of Vienna also taking to the streets with issues that authorities consider threatening.
There is harassment by the authorities, there is harassment by counter-demonstrations by left-wing extremist and, to some extent, Islamist groups. We are witnessing organized terrorism against peaceful assemblies.
Finally, we are witnessing smear campaigns mentioned by the introducer. Indeed, both in Germany and Austria, but even more so, in the United Kingdom, participating States are using the court system to shut down critical voices. There are people such as Tommy Robinson, Michael Mannheimer, Michael Stürzenberger, and myself who have been taken to court by the state, without there being any victims, just to make a point and intimidate.
BPE thus makes the following recommendations:
- That so-called ‘counter-demonstrations’ be prevented from becoming rallying points for initiating street battles, for example by not permitting them to be held near the initial demonstration.
- That police and intelligence organizations make an effective and unbiased effort to identify precisely which groups promote threatening and violent behavior, and which do not.
- That police and other relevant authorities radically improve the efforts to protect peaceful assemblies, including any that promote controversial or unpopular opinions.
- That police authorities take effective measures to ensure that so-called ‘counter-demonstrations’ are not used as rallying points to initiate street battles.
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.