CHAPTER III: DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN QUESTIONS

    1. Considering that OSCE participating States in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 have acknowledged that respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms of the Human Dimension are an essential factor for the peace, justice and well-being necessary to ensure the development of friendly relations among themselves,
    2. Reiterating the need for a balanced approach to all three dimensions: politico military, economic and environmental, and human,
    3. Noting that in the Madrid Concluding Document of 1983 participating States have expressed that the principles of the Human Dimension should be respected and put into practice by every participating State, irrespective of their political, economic or social systems, as well as of their size, geographical location or level of economic development,
    4. Recalling that the OSCE region has seen change on an historic scale since 1975, but that all OSCE principles and commitments, without exception, have been categorically and irrevocably reaffirmed in the Astana Commemorative Declaration of 2010,
    5. Recalling that at the UN Beijing Conference in 1995, women's rights were recognized as de facto and de jure human rights,
    6. Stressing that the Heads of State and Government in Astana expressly stated that the commitments undertaken in the field of the Human Dimension are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and do not belong exclusively to the internal affairs of the State concerned,
    7. Pointing out that in 2012 human rights are still routinely violated in many OSCE participating States and that many of them do not observe their commitments in the Human Dimension,
    8. Acknowledging that, as mentioned in the 2010 Astana Commemorative Declaration, more must be done to ensure full respect for and implementation of the core principles and commitments undertaken by the OSCE participating States in the politico-military, economic-environmental and human dimensions, notably in the sphere of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
    9. Stressing that OSCE human rights standards are minimum standards,
    10. Taking the view that, notwithstanding many positive developments in many areas, in recent years in some respects and in some participating States the commitment to OSCE principles in the Human Dimension has regressed and that overall this Dimension is not strong enough,
    11. Recalling the reference in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifying that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers, and further recalling article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the protection of freedom of expression and information,
    12. Recalling the Mandate of the OSCE Representation on Freedom of the Media stating that independent and pluralistic media are essential to a free and open society and accountable systems of government,
    13. Considering, therefore, that it is necessary to revise and strengthen OSCE tools to provide a proper, genuine form for monitoring the participating States' compliance with human rights commitments and that existing tools, such as the Moscow Mechanism, should be more frequently and more effectively applied,
    14. Observing that a country which holds the Chairmanship of the OSCE can expect closer scrutiny of the way it fulfils its commitments to the OSCE's guiding principles and that such a country therefore has a particular responsibility to provide a good example with regard to respecting these commitments,
    15. Calling on the OSCE to introduce an official review mechanism to assess participating States for a potential Chairmanship role, including evaluation of the candidate country's implementation of the OSCE human dimension commitments, to be carried out before any decision on the matter of future Chairmanship is made,
    16. Noting that with the 1990 Copenhagen Document the OSCE participating States recognized the independence of the judiciary as an essential element of the Human Dimension with regard to the full expression of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings and that the Ministerial Council in 2005 declared that the right to a fair trial, the right to an effective remedy, and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention constitute the basis of the rule of law,
    17. Recalling that, because of the values of traditional societies, women have unequal access to legal procedures in order to pursue justice and the protection of their rights, particularly concerning domestic violence, property ownership, and dissolution of marriage,
    18. Recalling the Final Report of the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Prison Reform of 2002, which includes comprehensive recommendations to bring conditions in detention facilities in line with United Nations legal documents like the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol,
    19. Mindful of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions on the Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders of 16 March 2011 and on strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women of 31 March 2011,
    20. Considering that the guarantee of the above-mentioned human and political rights and freedoms is not sufficient to allow the full expression of human dignity, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations, that the human experience of discrimination, violence and conflict cannot be remedied by political, security and economic measures alone, and that it is also necessary to leverage moral resources to create new opportunities for all human beings so as to transform antagonisms, restore dignity, rebuild trust and confidence and repair the social fabric,
    21. Taking note of the work organized in Vienna by the Irish Chairmanship-in-Office with a view to optimizing the human dimension in the OSCE,
    22. Reaffirming that greater efforts must be made to promote tolerance and non discrimination and to combat extremism on racial, ethnic and religious grounds,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Calls on all the OSCE participating States to assume full responsibility for a complete and effective implementation of their commitments in the fields of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law;
    2. Reiterates its call on the OSCE participating States for a more frequent and effective application of existing procedures in cases of clear, gross and uncorrected violations of OSCE commitments, including, when necessary, the Moscow Mechanism and the "consensus minus one" procedure, in accordance with the provisions contained in the Prague Document on Further Development of CSCE Institutions and Structures (30 and 31 January 1992);
    3. Calls on those participating States that hold the Chairmanship of the OSCE, now and in the future, to set the standard for exemplary observance of their commitments in the Human Dimension and to plan for a follow-up and deepening of their commitment to OSCE standards and mechanisms for the period after their term in office;
    4. Reaffirms the absolute necessity of a functioning, independent and transparent judiciary in fulfilling Human Dimension commitments, as the guarantee of access to justice and the right to a fair trial and the best way to safeguard against inappropriate interference with due process of law;
    5. Encourages participating States to continue to strengthen the gender balance of all components of the justice system, including police and judges;
    6. Recalls the Assembly's 2010 Declaration on politically-motivated notices in the INTERPOL system, and expresses concern regarding the abuse of the INTERPOL Red Notice system by participating States whose judicial systems do not meet international standards;
    7. Emphasizes that there should not be any political prisoners in the OSCE area;
    8. Urges participating States to ensure that the conditions in their detention centres are in conformity with United Nations standards and to allow visits of international prison monitoring missions;
    9. Strongly urges the OSCE participating States and OSCE institutions to intensify their efforts to combat violent extremist ideologies based on racial, ethnic and religious grounds and their manifestations in the OSCE area;
    10. Calls on those participating States that have not already done so to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
    11. Calls on the OSCE, including the OSCE PA, to establish permanent operational links with the United Nations Human Rights Council and its special procedures, notably the Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders, on Freedom of Expression, on Freedom of Assembly and Association and on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers;
    12. Commends the work of the OSCE field missions;
    13. Urges the OSCE Ministerial Council to adopt full, effective and long-term, at least three-year, mandates for OSCE field missions that include monitoring and reporting activities in all spheres, including the areas of human rights and the Human Dimension;
    14. Calls on the Permanent Council to re-open the OSCE field missions in Belarus and Georgia, whose mandates remain relevant today;
    15. Calls for closer contacts with parliaments in Central Asia, in particular the multi-party parliament of Kyrgyzstan, including through greater and more consistent engagement with the OSCE field presence in both Bishkek and Osh;
    16. Calls on the OSCE Chairmanship to ensure that investigations and policy preparation for swift OSCE action in situations of persistent, large-scale human rights abuse or of imminent threat of such violations are not held up by a veto by any one participating State;
    17. Repeats its request to the OSCE Permanent Council to organize special meetings with regard to the violation of OSCE commitments in the Human Dimension, to conduct these meetings in a way that is open to the public, the media and civil society representatives, and to undertake in this way the continuous monitoring of the condition of human rights and democracy in the OSCE region;
    18. Strongly encourages the participating States to support the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in efforts to strengthen and implement relevant OSCE principles and commitments;
    19. Calls on the OSCE to establish, under the aegis of the Chairmanship or other OSCE institutions, including the OSCE PA, a civil society advisory board, comprised of representatives of leading NGOs working on OSCE issues.