OSCE PA rights leaders visit Warsaw to discuss priorities in the human dimension

010222 warsaw odihrOSCE PA delegation meeting with ODIHR officials in Warsaw, 31 January 2022WARSAW, 1 February 2022 – In a series of meetings this week with representatives of the OSCE’s Polish Chairmanship and Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Polish Parliament, and civil society, the three leaders of the Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee have been deepening co-operation with partners, discussing priorities and exploring common approaches to human dimension challenges in the OSCE area.

Sereine Mauborgne (MP, France); Michael Georg Link (MP, Germany); and Johan Büser (MP, Sweden) – the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions – have met with Paweł Kotowski, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Poland’s 2022 OSCE Chairmanship and Head of the Task Force; Pawel Radomski, Director of the UN and Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; leaders of the Polish Parliament’s OSCE PA Delegation and human rights committee; senior officials of the OSCE/ODIHR, and several others.

The primary purpose of their meetings has been to exchange views on priorities in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals across the OSCE area.

In a meeting with Kotowski, representing the OSCE Chairmanship, the sides discussed hopes and expectations for the coming year, particularly highlighting the importance of enhancing efforts to organize the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM). Noting that these are challenging times in many respects, Kotowski nevertheless expressed confidence that the Polish Chairmanship would be able to make progress on its priorities. Particularly important is improving the humanitarian situation in the OSCE area, including by finding peaceful solutions to regional and protracted conflicts. He reiterated what Foreign Minister and CiO Zbigniew Rau said in his inaugural address to the Permanent Council in Vienna, that what is most important is recommitting to the founding principles of the Helsinki Final Act.

The PA Members jointly praised the readiness of Poland to assume the OSCE Chairmanship in challenging times, yet stressed that holding the OSCE Chairmanship also means that Poland should lead by example. “We have high expectations that the Polish Government and Parliament fully respect Poland’s commitments in the area of human rights, especially when it comes to independence of the judiciary, rulings of European Court of Human Rights, and respect for women’s and LGBT+ rights,” said the leadership of the PA’s human rights committee.

Committee Chair Mauborgne stressed that the OSCE PA stands ready to work with the Chairmanship and emphasized the valuable role of the PA in enhancing debate within the OSCE. “In this tense atmosphere,” Mauborgne stressed, “it is vital that we use all available tools, including the forum provided by the Parliamentary Assembly, to promote a proactive approach to meeting our challenges, especially in the human dimension.”

Meeting with leaders at the OSCE/ODIHR, the PA Members expressed support for their work and encouraged a robust approach to human rights monitoring, as well as election observation. “On elections, the PA and ODIHR have a long history of relations,” said committee Vice-Chair Link, who previously served as ODIHR Director. “While our working relationship has evolved, we must continue to address challenges to improve this all-important endeavor of the OSCE, as well as deepen our co-operation in other areas such as developing standards for gender-sensitive parliaments.”

The PA Members also stressed the importance of civil society participation in the OSCE and rejected efforts to restrict participation in OSCE human dimension events so long as these groups do not resort to or condone violence. Topics of discussion with civil society groups in Warsaw included gender and LGBT+ rights, independent judiciary, judicial reforms, migration, rule of law and freedom of entrepreneurship.

010222 warsaw civil society mtgOSCE PA delegation meeting in Warsaw with civil society representatives organized by Open Dialogue Foundation, 1 February 2022Committee Rapporteur Büser welcomed in particular the opportunity to meet with Polish non-governmental organizations and stressed the vital input of civil society in the work of the OSCE. “As rapporteur, discussions with civil society are essential for informing my work,” he said. “Parliamentarians are the link between the people and the governments, and therefore these discussions are valuable ways to ensure that the people’s concerns are heard and communicated.”

Büser is currently developing ideas for his report and draft resolution that will be introduced ahead of the Annual Session later this year in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He will present his preliminary ideas in Vienna at the OSCE PA’s Winter Meeting on 24-25 February.

The parliamentarians reiterated concerns related to the treatment and humanitarian needs of irregular migrants crossing into Poland from Belarus. They noted that the migrants in question are victims in a political game, and stressed that they must be cared for and granted rights to request asylum regardless of the method of entry. The Members informed officials of their willingness to visit the border region and help assess the situation.

The Warsaw visit of the human rights committee leaders also included discussions with members of the Polish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, led by Barbara Bartus. Talks with the Polish parliamentarians focused on the role of Poland in the OSCE, particularly as host of ODIHR, and the strong support offered by the Polish Parliament to the PA’s work.



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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