OSCE PA Annual Session: Ukraine crisis, refugee tragedy, climate change feature in Draft Resolutions

2015 AS Helsinki bigCOPENHAGEN, 25 June 2015 – The crisis in and around Ukraine, the plight of migrants and refugees, arms control, climate change and minority rights are among a diverse array of critical security issues on the agenda at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Annual Session next month.

The Annual Session, held on 5-9 July in Helsinki, will bring together nearly 300 lawmakers from three continents. It will culminate in the adoption of the 2015 Helsinki Declaration, containing the Assembly's policy recommendations in the fields of political affairs, economics, the environment and human rights. 

Draft Resolutions from each of the Assembly’s three General Committees will be debated, amended, and approved through majority voting before they are combined into the Declaration. The final document is then sent to the foreign ministers of OSCE participating States and presented in national parliaments.

Political Affairs and Security

The Draft Resolution of the Committee on Political Affairs and Security condemns ongoing violations of the ceasefire in Ukraine; “deeply deplores the flagrant violations of the OSCE core principles by the Russian Federation in the context of the conflict”; urges all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered access to OSCE monitors; and calls on Russia to “use its full influence on the illegal separatists in Ukraine to comply with all commitments under the Minsk Agreement.”

Prepared by Committee Rapporteur Margareta Cederfelt (MP, Sweden), the Draft Resolution also calls for universal participation in the Arms Trade Treaty; stresses the need to develop effective measures to combat hybrid and proxy warfare; recommends increased co-operation among OSCE States on cybersecurity; expresses concern about “insufficient solidarity and burden-sharing among EU countries” with respect to the migrant and refugee crisis; and more.

Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment

The Draft Resolution of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment “implores participating States to pursue policies on the local, national and regional levels to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as to forge bilateral and multilateral agreements toward this end, while continuing to negotiate a new universal climate accord with binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for final agreement at the COP 21 in Paris, France.”

Prepared by Committee Rapporteur Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy), the Draft Resolution also calls for greater transparency in the extractive industries; promotes less water-intensive agricultural practices; urges parliamentarians to support economic policies that invest in scientific research and green-growth development; recommends the introduction of financial transaction taxes on stock trading; and more.

Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions

The Draft Resolution of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions also includes pronouncements and recommendations on the crisis in and around Ukraine and addresses pressure on civil society in the OSCE area, minority rights, the Guantanamo detention facility, and more.

Among several related clauses, it “condemns the continued occupation by the Russian Federation of the Crimean peninsula and the resulting abuses of minorities’ rights, particularly those of Crimean Tatars, and attempts to silence human rights defenders and independent media.” 

Prepared by Committee Rapporteur Gordana Comic (MP, Serbia), the Draft Resolution calls on the OSCE to re-prioritize human rights and reform the way it works in order to further that end. It condemns the “continued persecution and imprisonment on politically motivated charges of journalists and human rights defenders in several OSCE participating States.” 

The Draft Resolution also breaks new ground in the OSCE by addressing the topic of LGBT rights, describing those rights as “inherent” and “a natural continuation of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Helsinki Final Act, and other CSCE and OSCE documents.”

For the full text of all draft supplementary items and other Annual Session documents, updated schedules, press registration and more, visit: http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/annual-sessions/2015-annual-session-helsinki

LIVE STREAMING of the Session will be available on www.oscepa.org.

Follow news from the Session using the Twitter hashtag #PAHelsinki15.