Wide-ranging recommendations in fields of security, human rights and more approved by wide margin

2014-07-02-AS-Delegates-VotingOSCE parliamentarians vote on the Baku Declaration on the final day of the 23rd OSCE PA Annual Session.BAKU, 2 July 2014 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has adopted the Baku Declaration, lending political support to wide-ranging policy recommendations for the OSCE and its 57 participating States in the fields of political affairs and security, economics, the environment and human rights. (Full text available HERE)

The crisis in Ukraine is among the document’s central themes.

The Declaration was adopted after 97 parliamentarians voted in favour and 1 against at the conclusion of the 2014 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Session in the Azerbaijani capital. 

Nine OSCE parliamentarians abstained, including members of the Russian Delegation to the Assembly.

In its 140 clauses, the Baku Declaration encompasses the resolutions of the PA’s three General Committees -- the Committee on Political Affairs and Security; the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.

Among its recommendations on political affairs and security, the Declaration “Express[es] grave concern about the situation in Ukraine and emphasiz[es] the role of the OSCE in engaging all parties in a constructive dialogue, monitoring and supporting the implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments on the ground, preventing further escalation of the crisis and promoting a diplomatic process towards a peaceful resolution to the crisis.”

It also calls on Russia to “reverse the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine.”

The Declaration also advocates enhanced confidence-building measures in the military sphere, democratic control of countries' armed forces and a comprehensive assessment of cyber threats.

In the sphere of environmental issues and economics, the Declaration calls for sustained work towards a new universal climate agreement, regulations to limit the risk of financial crashes, and steps to ensure the economic empowerment and property rights of women.

It also “encourages the OSCE and its participating States to work on migration management to increase the benefits of migration while reducing its potential negative implications.”

The Declaration further focuses on the particular vulnerability of mountainous regions to climate change and natural disasters and supports initiatives to improve the efficiency of food production and water management.

The Declaration also offers a diverse set of recommendations and pronouncements in the democracy and human rights sphere -- from “deploring” hate crimes against migrant workers to calling for a redoubled fight against anti-Semitism to raising the cases of specific individuals in the OSCE region.

The Declaration “expresses concern at the misuse of administrative procedures and legislation to detain, imprison, intimidate or otherwise silence human rights defenders and critics in numerous OSCE participating States, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.”

It further “endorses the adoption by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of a resolution confirming the definition of ‘political prisoners.’”

It also calls upon Ukrainian authorities to fully investigate all recent fatalities during the crisis in the country, and particularly in Odessa.

The Declaration also asks the government of Turkmenistan to provide information on the status of persons who have disappeared in the country’s prisons.

Several paragraphs focus on Azerbaijan, the host country for this year’s OSCE PA Annual Session, including an expression of “deep concern at the situation of Mr. Anar Mammadli” and other “citizens who have been victims of politicized court cases.”

Several supplementary items were adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly as an annex to the Baku Declaration.

They include resolutions on the prevention and prosecution of child sex-trafficking, food security and limited water resources in the OSCE area and an item that “condemns the clear, gross and uncorrected violation of the Helsinki principles by the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine, including the particularly egregious violation of that country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The resolution, initiated by U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, the Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation, was the focus of an at-times heated parliamentary debate on 1 July.

All materials from the 2014 Annual Session, including documents, press releases, videos and photos, are available HERE.