Parliamentarians debate ways to increase OSCE’s support for peace in Ukraine

230322 cpc directorTuula Yrjölä, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention CentreCOPENHAGEN, 23 March 2022 – Parliamentarians, the OSCE and international partners must do everything in their power to support peace and security in Ukraine, participants said at an online meeting today organized by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Held as part of the OSCE PA’s Call for Action – Helsinki +50 initiative and moderated by OSCE PA High-Level Expert Lamberto Zannier, the meeting focused on the role of the OSCE in addressing the war in Ukraine and its consequences, and featured the participation of high-level OSCE officials and dozens of OSCE parliamentarians.

Participants discussed ways to end Russia’s aggression, including by increasing the political will by all parties to utilize the OSCE’s toolbox for de-escalation, facilitate negotiations, and promote a peaceful solution.

“Genuine political will by all parties is necessary to fully exploit OSCE tools and to achieve real progress,” said OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden). “This compels us, parliamentarians, to also use all our influence on our governments to make full use of the OSCE as a unique platform to detect, prevent, and defuse tensions among our participating States.”

In his opening remarks, OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella argued that the invasion of Ukraine should not be considered a failure of the OSCE, which had done what it could within its mandate to monitor on the ground the developments with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and issue an early warning by its Secretary General. A platform for dialogue can only be successful, he said, if all participating States participate in dialogue in good faith and in fully respect of the values and commitments they have freely agreed to when the Helsinki Final Act was signed.

Sereine Mauborgne, Head of French Delegation to the OSCE PA and Chair of OSCE PA human rights committee, commended the efforts of Ukraine’s neighbors to welcome refugees, and focused on protecting the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied children.

Tuula Yrjölä, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, said that the OSCE is working to support the international effort at bringing the war to an end, and is using available means to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. She also noted that the mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission is expiring at the end of this month, and therefore it is important for parliamentarians to rally support for the SMM as well as the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Kairat Abdrakhmanov stressed that the OSCE must continue to be the forum for dialogue that was established in 1975, noting that the HCNM focuses much of its efforts on early warning.

Konstantine Vardzelashvili, Head of Democratization Department at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, spoke about human rights monitoring, noting a recent ODIHR visit to Polish-Ukrainian border, where the focus was on strengthening anti-trafficking responses. Kyriakos Hadjiyianni, OSCE PA Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement and Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Migration, stressed that the current war is threatening the whole of international security, and urged the PA to intensify its co-operation with other international organizations.

Jürgen Heissel, Director of the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, regretted the deaths of six journalists since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine last month. He also noted that Moscow’s recent measures against media freedom could lead to an establishment of a state monopoly on information in the Russian Federation. Speaking about efforts by Western governments to combat disinformation and propaganda for war, he reiterated the Representative on Freedom of the Media’s opposition to blanket bans on media outlets, and urged instead greater efforts to cultivate media literacy.

A number of Ukrainian parliamentarians took the floor, urging tougher sanctions against the Russian Federation, and for more defensive weapons to be provided to Ukraine. Russia’s aggression has shocked the whole foundation of the OSCE, it was stressed, and it is necessary to bring all members of the OSCE together to restore the spirit of Helsinki.

Video of the event is available here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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