OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities visits FUEN12.05.2023
High-ranking visit to our Flensburg headquarters: Kairat Abdrakhmanov, High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), paid a visit to FUEN on Friday, 12 May. Abdrakhmanov had come to the German-Danish borderland with his delegation for a stay of several days to meet, among others, the minorities living here, the European Center for Minority Issues as well as important political representatives.
During a discussion with the FUEN Vice-Presidents Gösta Toft, Bahne Bahnsen and Bernard Gaida, the focus was on activities and areas of responsibility, current challenges in the field of minority policy as well as possibilities for cooperation. The High Commissioner showed great interest in the various FUEN activities, from the Western Balkans Dialogue to the annual congress with around 200 participants from various minorities in Europe, to EUROPEADA, the European Football Championship of autochthonous national minorities, which will take place for the fifth time next year.
Another topic was the minorities without a kin-state, which in most cases face great challenges, especially of a financial nature, due to a lack of a mother state as a supporter, as FUEN Vice-President Bahne Bahnsen explained using the example of the Frisians. His Presidium colleague Bernard Gaida also took the opportunity to again address the discrimination of the German minority in Poland by cutting their mother tongue education.
One of the tasks of the High Commissioner on National Minorities is to intervene when, in his assessment, there are tensions pertaining to national minorities that could develop into a conflict that could endanger peace and stability in the OSCE region. His official seat is in The Hague, the Netherlands.
In front of the Flensburg FUEN office at the harbour (from left): Bahne Bahnsen, Bernard Gaida, OSCE Commissioner Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Gösta Toft.
The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and FUEN share many areas of interest, fields of activity and target groups and have a long-standing collaboration. The representatives of the High Commissioner’s office are regular guests of the FUEN Congresses, and in March 2021 the Commissioner was visited by FUEN President MEP Loránt Vincze in his office in the Hague. "His visit to Flensburg was an excellent opportunity to get to know each other even better and to find out about our current work," summarised FUEN Vice-President Gösta Toft. Perhaps we will see each other again soon, in a few months at the FUEN Annual Congress in Pécs/Fünfkirchen, Hungary? Kairat Abdrakhmanov received a warm invitation at the meeting.
Kairat Abdrakhmanov took office as OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on 4 December 2020. Previously, Abdrakhmanov was Kazakhstan's ambassador to Sweden and Denmark. His political career in Kazakhstan has taken him to a number of key positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For example, he held the post of Foreign Minister from 2016 to 2018. From 2013 to 2016, he was Kazakhstan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and led Kazakhstan's bid to become the first Central Asian state to be elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. He subsequently represented his country as Foreign Minister at the UN Security Council between 2017 and 2018.
In addition, Abdrakhmanov was Kazakhstan's Permanent Representative to the OSCE from 2007 to 2013 and chaired the OSCE Permanent Council in 2010, when Kazakhstan became the first post-Soviet country to hold the chair. (Information from osce.org)
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