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Australia to support the OSCE’s anti-human trafficking work in Central Asia
21 February 2012
Australia will support the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in an effort to combat the effects of human trafficking in Central Asia.
Australia today signed a three year grant agreement that will promote human rights protection for trafficked persons and vulnerable groups in Central Asia. Australia’s support for the initiative was first announced by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd at the OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2011 held in Vilnius, Lithuania. The agreement marks the deepening of Australia’s cooperation with the OSCE.
Welcoming the new agreement, Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said, ‘Australia is an active OSCE Partner for Co-operation, and a strong supporter of OSCE values. I am grateful to the Government of Australia for its valuable contributions to the work of the Organization, particularly in Central Asia.’
The agreement was signed by the Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Vienna, Michael Potts. Ambassador Potts said the new contribution signalled Australia’s commitment to the OSCE’s values, principles and practical contribution to advancing human security.
‘Australia looks forward to enhancing the strong partnership we have developed with the OSCE since joining as a Partner for Co-operation in 2009,’ Ambassador Potts said. ‘We are particularly pleased to be supporting the OSCE’s work in Central Asia, where it is a valued and constructive partner.’
The agreement provides $360,000 to the OSCE over three years. The objective of the project is to enhance local, national and regional capacities to ensure human rights protection of trafficked persons and vulnerable groups in Central Asia. It will build the capacity of government and civil-society stakeholders, including by working to establish national referral mechanisms in line with the commitments of OSCE participating states.
The project will be implemented by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in cooperation with OSCE field operations in Central Asia, partner governments and other international organisations.
Also attending the signing ceremony today was the OSCE’s Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro. ‘My office will support ODIHR in the implementation of the project, and I am confident that it will contribute to the advancement of anti-trafficking action in Central Asia,’ Ms Giammarinaro said.
The new agreement will build on the support Australia has already given to a number of OSCE projects to date, including for anti-money laundering work in Uzbekistan, human rights education in Central Asia, social inclusion of women from migrant households in Tajikistan, population registration in Kyrgyzstan, support for the victims of human trafficking in Ukraine, as well as for the conflict prevention work of the High Commissioner for National Minorities across the Central Asia region.