In Warsaw, parliamentarians address impacts of war in Ukraine on fundamental rights, economics and environment, and OSCE

251122 AM photo 1OSCE PA Vice-President Pascal Allizard and Head of the Delegation of Poland to the OSCE PA Barbara Bartus, Warsaw, 24 November 2022WARSAW, 25 November 2022 – Some 170 parliamentarians from 46 OSCE participating States gathered for two days of debates in Warsaw under the general theme of “The War in Ukraine: The Role of the OSCE and National Parliaments.” In focus were questions of how best to respond to the war in a way that brings it to a rapid and just conclusion, upholds OSCE commitments, safeguards fundamental freedoms and human rights, and protects economic and environmental security.

Opening the first session of the Autumn Meeting’s Parliamentary Conference, devoted to a discussion on the impacts of the war on the OSCE itself, OSCE PA Vice-President Pascal Allizard (France) highlighted as a priority for the Organization the need to increase preparedness on a variety of issues such as food security and energy.

“The situation is dire,” Allizard said. “We are witnessing on a daily basis destruction of vital infrastructure, isolated communities and enormous human suffering not only on the frontlines, but on both sides of the lines and in those territories that changed hands.”

He noted that for those providing humanitarian assistance, the challenges are significant. The growing numbers of people in need of life-saving support combined with the vast geographical area to cover and difficulties in the transport sector make aid increasingly difficult to deliver. To overcome these challenges, political engagement is needed at all levels, as well as strategic positioning.

The session’s panel included interventions by Head of the Delegation of Poland to the OSCE PA Barbara Bartus, Special Envoy of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Artur Dmochowski, and former United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine Amin Awad. Panelists stressed that the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine has led to multiple crises, not the least of which being the impact on agriculture and food security. Globally, it was pointed out, the impact on inflation and energy is severe. Within Ukraine, the destruction of train stations, railways and other infrastructure, has impacted supply chains.

The war has also proven to be the biggest existential threat to the OSCE since its founding, it was stressed, and throughout 2022, the Polish Chairmanship has focused on how to respond. It was also pointed out that the OSCE has a mandate to act in favor of peace and has instruments at its disposal, for example the Moscow Mechanism, which can be used to investigate human rights violations and promote accountability. Parliamentarians raised questions about avenues for diplomacy that might be possible, and whether there are opportunities to build on initiatives such as the agreement to unblock grain shipments from Ukraine.

251122 AM photo 2OSCE PA Vice-President Irene Charalambides and Senior Adviser Marco Bonabello, Warsaw, 24 November 2022In the second session, chaired by OSCE PA Vice-President Irene Charalambides (Cyprus), parliamentarians focused on promoting economic and environmental security amid the current crisis. Charalambides highlighted the dire environmental impacts of the war, noting, in particular, the irresponsible sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines and the repeated attacks on Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

“Needless to point out that any nuclear ‘accident’ would have disastrous environmental, economic and health consequences for decades,” Charalambides said. “In this regard, I call for the immediate creation of safe zones around all nuclear power plants and I welcome the direct involvement of the IAEA in this context.”

The panel included Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities Igli Hasani, President of Forum Energii Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera, and Member of the Polish Delegation to the OSCE PA Kazimierz Kleina. Panelists noted that the war has increased inflation and food security, with low-income families most dramatically affected. In Ukraine, panelists underlined, there is an urgent need to strengthen the critical energy infrastructure, and internationally the war has highlighted the need to diversify energy sources. In some cases this has led to nations resorting to dirty energy which negatively impacts efforts to curb climate change.

251122 AM photo 3OSCE PA Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka chairs session three, Warsaw, 25 November 2022Opening the third session on protecting fundamental rights in situations of armed conflict, OSCE PA Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka (Austria) said that the Russian attack against Ukraine has resulted in violations of human rights and freedoms on a massive scale, highlighting the destruction of civilian infrastructure, unlawful killings, sexual violence, and enforced disappearances, torture, and ill treatment. Noting that the United Nations has documented thousands of civilian casualties and that millions more have been forcibly displaced, Lopatka called this war a violation of the most basic right to life. “This war is an afront to the principles of our Organization, but it is first and foremost an attack against people,” Lopatka said. “I hope we can have their best interests in mind today.”

The third session included interventions by Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sejm, Radoslaw Fogiel. Panelists emphasized the need to keep the human costs of the war at the forefront of discussions. Since the invasion in February, ODIHR has collected evidence on violations of human rights, Mecacci said, investigating war crimes and documenting breaches of international law. While both political and diplomatic efforts are needed, it is equally important to uphold OSCE commitments and hold governments accountable for violations, he said.

In the discussion, it was proposed to ensure accountability for war crimes and the crime of aggression by establishing a mechanism for an international tribunal, as well as promoting the application of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security to the war in Ukraine.

251122 AM photo 4Participants showing solidarity with Ukraine at the OSCE PA Autumn Meeting, Warsaw, 25 November 2022At the closing of the Parliamentary Conference, the lights were turned off in the Sejm to express solidarity with Ukrainians who have lost power due to attacks on energy infrastructure, and OSCE parliamentarians observed a moment of silence.

OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) and Head of the OSCE PA’s Polish Delegation Barbara Bartus recalled the urgency of the discussions in Warsaw and the need to maintain clarity in messaging. Secretary General Montella stressed that the PA has been consistent in its condemnations of Russian actions in Ukraine since 2014, and highlighted the continued attention that the PA is devoting to the issue.

President Cederfelt underlined the need to maintain unity of purpose in regards to the war in Ukraine and more broadly to defend the European security order established with the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.

On the margins of the Autumn Meeting, the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committees on Migration and Countering Terrorism also met to discuss current events and upcoming activities.

Following the close of the Parliamentary Conference, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt issued a statement on Ukraine, calling on the OSCE Ministerial Council to recognize the Russian Federation as having committed clear, gross and uncorrected violations of relevant OSCE commitments. Click here for the document.

For more information on the OSCE PA’s 20th Autumn Meeting, including videos of the sessions, please click here.

Photos of the meeting are available on the OSCE PA’s Flickr page and at the Polish Parliament’s Facebook page.



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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