The 18th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 6-7 December 2011. The Foreign Ministers of the OSCE Member States agreed to strengthen the cooperation with Afghanistan and other OSCE Partner countries, including those in North Africa. The Ministers also agreed on a decision to strengthen the conflict prevention capabilities of the OSCE as well as a declaration on combating all forms of human trafficking.
Stefán Skjaldarson, the Permanent Representative of Iceland to the OSCE, spoke at the summit on the behalf of Iceland. In his address, he placed great emphasis on human rights, the development of democracy, and the importance of freedom of speech in the media. The Permanent Representative raised concerns over an increase in human rights violations, imprisonment of jouranlists and harassment of civil society in OSCE Member States. Icelandic authorities have also emphasised within the OSCE the importance of freedom of speech in digital media. Although a resolution regarding this issue was not concluded, Iceland aligned with a European Union statement which expressed disappointment at the lack of an agreement on freedom of speech in digital media and the weak conclusions on human rights issues overall.
The OSCE is the largest regional security organisation in the world. Its 56 Member States are located across Europe, Central Asia and North America. Further information can be found on the website of the organisation at www.osce.org