OSCE parliamentarians consult with civil society ahead of upcoming Annual Session

100622 civil society call headshotCOPENHAGEN, 10 June 2022 – In advance of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 29th Annual Session, taking place 2-6 July in Birmingham, OSCE PA Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) hosted a consultation call today with representatives of non-governmental organizations. The first-of-its-kind discussion was an opportunity for civil society to provide feedback on the content of draft resolutions to be debated when hundreds of OSCE parliamentarians gather next month for the Annual Session.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Officers of our Assembly to benefit from your expertise, by engaging in discussions on their reports and resolutions,” Hadjiyianni said at the virtual meeting. “By discussing together a wide range of topics related to security, we can inform and reinforce each other’s work, and strive at being more effective and relevant. What we have heard today will be used to advise the deliberations of our Assembly.”

Following the presentation of reports and draft resolutions by OSCE PA General Committee Officers to civil society representatives, the parliamentarians listened to their ideas and engaged in discussions on how to ensure that the views of civil society are reflected in the Annual Session outcomes, as well as inform the work of the Assembly more generally.

Topics included the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, including the war’s legal aspects, with participants taking issue with Moscow’s rationale for launching military action. The risk of escalation of the conflict, including the possibility of nuclear war, should be strongly emphasized in the Birmingham Declaration, participants emphasized, reiterating the need for “no-first use” pledges from nuclear states. The ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons was also stressed as a priority.

Other issues raised by participants included the need to prioritize democratization and include language in the Birmingham Declaration on election observation and ensuring the right to peaceful assembly. Other civil society representatives requested that the OSCE PA have stronger references in its resolutions on the situations in Belarus and in Kazakhstan. The importance of parliamentarians adopting concrete and actionable recommendations to address the many challenges facing the region was also highlighted.

The OSCE PA, it was noted, has long enjoyed good co-operation with civil society experts on these and other topics, and participants today stressed how important it is to deepen that co-operation in light of the unprecedented challenges facing the OSCE region.

As Johan Buser (Sweden), Rapporteur of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, stated, the impact of the war in Ukraine has only exacerbated problems that developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “At a time when the OSCE is facing its greatest challenge in decades, ensuring that our democracies are inclusive, resilient and guaranteeing the full respect for human rights and OSCE principles should be at the forefront of our action,” Buser said.

Gudrun Kugler (Austria), Rapporteur of the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, welcomed the opportunity to engage with civil society experts in a structured format on the work of the OSCE PA in the economic and environmental dimension.

Among the participants from civil society today were representatives from non-governmental organizations working on a variety of issues including democracy and human rights, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, media freedom, and security.

For more on the OSCE PA's 29th Annual Session, please click here.

For more on the work of the Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement, please click 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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