VIENNA, JULY 18 – Lamberto Zannier (Italy) is the new OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. Following the expiration of a five-day silence procedure and in accordance with the proposal submitted by the Permanent Council, the OSCE Ministerial Council adopted today by consensus the decisions to appoint its new senior-level officials. Zannier will pass Thomas Greminger (Switzerland) the mandate of Secretary General, while Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir (Iceland) is the new Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and Harlem Désir (France) is the Representative on Freedom of the Media.
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who led an intensive consultation process, expressed his satisfaction regarding these crucial appointments for the functioning of the organization. “I am pleased to welcome Thomas Greminger as the OSCE’s new Secretary General,” said Kurz. “As Switzerland’s Permanent Representative during his country’s OSCE Chairmanship in a period of crisis, he proved his commitment and competence as a negotiator and mediator. I am convinced that he will bring these skills to his new office as OSCE Secretary General – to the benefit of our organization.” The OSCE Secretary General is the Chief Administrative Officer of the OSCE, heads the OSCE Secretariat and acts as the representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, whom he/she supports in all activities aimed at fulfilling the goals of the OSCE.
Based in Warsaw, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights is one of the world’s principal regional human rights bodies, tasked with helping OSCE participating States to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; to abide by the rule of law; to promote principles of democracy; to build, strengthen and protect democratic institutions; and to promote tolerance throughout their societies. The Office also plays an important role in enhancing dialogue among States, governments and civil society. Kurz welcomed the appointment of Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir as the new Director of ODIHR. “I am firmly convinced that with her extensive experience, she will be able to cope well with the tasks of her mandate: assisting OSCE participating States in ensuring full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, tolerance and the rule of law,” he stated.
Commenting on the appointment of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Chairperson-in-Office Kurz stressed that “throughout his diplomatic career, Lamberto Zannier has always demonstrated commitment, fairness and a high level of competence. As OSCE Secretary General during the past six years, he was appreciated and valued for these qualities by all participating States. I am convinced that they form an excellent basis for a successful tenure in his new post.” The HCNM works to identify and seek early resolution of ethnic tensions that might endanger peace, stability or friendly relations between OSCE participating States or within the OSCE region. The office of the HCNM is in The Hague.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has an early warning function with regard to free media and freedom of expression and provides rapid response to serious non-compliance. “Freedom of the media is increasingly under pressure, not least in the OSCE area,” observed the Chaiperson-in-Office. “This is why I am pleased that with Harlem Désir, a distinguished public figure will serve our organization as a voice for freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. We are looking forward to fruitful co-operation with the Representative, particularly as regards his early warning function,” said Kurz. (@OnuItalia)