RESOLUTION ON

THE SITUATION OF REFUGEES IN THE OSCE AREA

    1. Considering recent events that have revealed the heightening drama suffered by those seeking asylum in the OSCE region,
    2. Recognizing the need to alleviate the misery and physical and psychological suffering of those who, seeing themselves forced to leave their countries and sever their family and social ties because of serious events such as armed conflict, natural and environmental disasters, or famine, are seeking asylum,
    3. Noting the responsibility of lawmakers in the debate about refugees and the asylum system, both in countries of origin and host countries, and their role in developing appropriate legislative tools,
    4. Highlighting the commitments made in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and the Helsinki Final Act,
    5. Considering that the participating States have an obligation to defend and uphold human dignity in all circumstances, even when dealing with illegal migration and asylum seekers,
    6. Bearing in mind the historical evolution and growing diversity of situations that have led to requests for asylum, clearly contrasting with the increasingly restrictive interpretations of the concepts of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) adopted by some countries,
    7. Mindful of the fact that asylum seekers often find themselves forced to live in inhumane conditions – especially in poorer host countries or where the economic crisis has created living conditions that are tending to worsen – because their right to work is either not recognised or is impeded, a situation that makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation,
    8. Stressing the importance of providing asylum seekers information on their rights and duties and the legal provisions of the country in which they are seeking hospitality, and the need to constantly strive to improve procedures and conditions of access to various official bodies in order to avoid situations of discrimination and abuse by any agent,
    9. Aware of the need for victims of human trafficking to have adequate time to recover from trauma and to have a reflection delay and temporary or, where applicable, permanent residence permits, as well as the possibility of obtaining work permits during their stay,
    10. Noting that some countries' geographical positions make them easier to reach, which leads to imbalances that can result in saturation of the capacity to integrate those seeking asylum,
    11. Bearing in mind the importance of ensuring a balance between all the countries in the OSCE area in the reception effort,
    12. Mindful of the need to constantly monitor and combat all types of discrimination of which refugees are or may be victims, and to ensure their access on equal terms with nationals of the host country to work, health, education and social protection,
    13. Aware of the usefulness of the OSCE and its Parliamentary Assembly as a place for dialogue, co-operation and the reconciliation of policies designed to foster the peace, security and development of the entire region, as well as acknowledging the importance of continuous concerted efforts, dialogue and co-operation with other international bodies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and national and international NGOs,
    14. Mindful of the importance of dialogue and the reconciliation of positions intended to foster the development and implementation of a common policy line with regard to the admission, granting of asylum to, and integration of refugees,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Invites OSCE participating States, mindful of the commitments already made under the European Union, to develop a common policy on receiving refugees, particularly with regard to admission, reception conditions, procedures and funding;
    2. Urges OSCE participating States to negotiate between themselves agreements and procedures for:
      1. a more equitable sharing of the flow of refugees who have been or are to be admitted, also taking into account criteria such as geographical or cultural proximity to the country of origin and the population density of the destination country, to ensure the best prospects of life for all, including the population of host countries;
      2. allowing the possibility of asylum seekers or refugees returning to their homeland as soon as possible, in safe conditions, taking precautions against any act of persecution or discrimination, safeguarding respect for their fundamental rights and ensuring optimal conditions for economic, social and cultural integration;
    3. Calls on OSCE participating States to intensify efforts to combat human trafficking and to strengthen international co-operation in this area, specifically between national police forces;
    4. Urges OSCE participating States to adopt specific legislation with regard to family reunification measures, particularly with regard to the spouse, or similar, and minor children, to allow a stable and complete integration with access to education, vocational training, employment, health and social security;
    5. Calls on OSCE participating States to strengthen co-operation with key stakeholders in the field of migration and asylum, in particular the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross and national and international NGOs and to provide unhindered international humanitarian access;
    6. Urges the fast-track recognition of refugee status to ensure the recognition of their rights so that, once the emergency that gave rise to the process is remedied, they have fast access to their places of origin and their traditional way of life;
    7. Encourages the adoption of necessary measures to secure conditions for the survival and social integration of refugees, specifically regarding access to employment, housing, health, education and social assistance;
    8. Reaffirms the obligation to respect the principle of non-refoulement and urges the development of legislation and the promotion of education and training programmes for border officials to prevent abuse;
    9. Calls on participating States to develop mechanisms to ensure efficient access by those seeking asylum to information about their rights and duties, and the legal provisions of the country in which they are seeking hospitality;
    10. Asks participating States to work towards the continuous improvement of procedures and conditions for access to various official bodies and the transparency of decisions so as to avoid situations of discrimination and abuse;
    11. Urges participating States to establish appropriate legal frameworks to combat and prevent intolerance, racism and xenophobia, and to develop public awareness campaigns;
    12. Calls on participating States to implement protocols designed to protect the most vulnerable groups among refugees – unaccompanied children, women and the elderly – and to develop strategies to combat sexual and gender-based violence;
    13. Urges participating States to strengthen the fight against and punishment of the crime of human trafficking and to develop holistic policies for the protection of victims of human trafficking, including a delay for reflection and temporary or, where applicable, permanent residence permits with the possibility of obtaining work permits;
    14. Underlines the responsibility of States to protect their citizens and, in this context, to protect and assimilate internally displaced persons;
    15. Urges participating States to adopt a plan to manage borders in the event of humanitarian crises involving population movements in search of refuge and protection, which must cover:
      1. Pre-established protocols and early warning mechanisms for rapid intervention to facilitate the processes of mass entry;
      2. Referencing of possible sites to install camps, taking into account the issues related to defence against potential attacks from the country of origin;
      3. Special training of border personnel to be mobilized in such crisis situations;
      4. Specific protocols for the entry of unaccompanied minors;
      5. Information and awareness actions for neighbouring populations with particular emphasis on local authorities;
      6. Implementation of confidence-building measures to prevent conflicts with neighbouring States which would tend to increase the flow of refugees or internally displaced persons;
    16. Urges participating States to forestall the militarization by direct and personal treatment of refugees, which ideally should be the responsibility of specialist NGOs and civilian personnel of the host country;
    17. Calls on OSCE participating States to pursue sound and effective policies geared to institution building with other States, taking advantage of the OSCE and its three dimensions, and its experience on the ground, to promote their economic, social and political development and so prevent unregulated flows of refugees.