RESOLUTION ON GENDER AND MINORITIES IN THE OSCE REGION

    1. Reaffirming that equal opportunities for women and men, and the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights by women, as well as respect for the rights of persons belonging to national minorities as universally recognized human rights, are essential to peace, justice, sustainable democracy, economic development and prosperity and, therefore, to security and stability in the OSCE region,
    2. Acknowledging the cross-cutting issue of gender and minority status, and the condition of women belonging to national, religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities, notably immigrant, indigenous and Roma and Sinti women, in the OSCE region as among the most vulnerable to political, economic and social alienation,
    3. Recalling that in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the OSCE participating States committed themselves to respect "human rights and fundamental freedoms ... for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion," as also confirmed by the OSCE PA in numerous declarations,
    4. Commending the work of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, and the Gender Unit at the OSCE Secretariat in promoting awareness and best practice concerning the most vulnerable groups in the OSCE region,
    5. Noting the progress achieved on the part of many participating States regarding the implementation and enforcement of rights of persons belonging to national minorities, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups, indigenous peoples, immigrants, and the Roma and Sinti populations in the OSCE region, as well as on improving gender equality,
    6. Recognizing the bridging role that women can play in promoting mutual understanding and tolerance in societies characterized by national, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity,
    7. Mindful that in the OSCE region women who belong to minorities are less likely to participate fully in the economic, social, cultural and political lives of their countries, are less likely to have access to education and employment, housing, health care services, judicial protection or electoral office at a level equal with men belonging to their group, and with non-minority women and men, and are more vulnerable than men to subsequent poverty, exploitation, trafficking, slavery, domestic and societal violence, and the lack of legal protection as migrant workers,
    8. Aware that more fully harnessing a country's diversity will strengthen its economic productivity and competitiveness,
    9. Concerned that women belonging to minority groups face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and that the cross-cutting theme of the specific plight of women belonging to minorities is inadequately addressed at the OSCE,
    10. Recalling the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular article 26, which states that "Everyone has the right to education", and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in particular article 10, which states that "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education",

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Calls upon the participating States to continue to increase their efforts to safeguard and promote equal opportunities for women belonging to national minorities, particularly regarding access to education, shelter, health services, and employment, and offer sensitivity training where women and minorities are concerned;
    2. Stresses the need for national parliaments to ensure that national legislation protects, respects and fulfils the equal rights and freedoms of minorities and women;
    3. Calls on participating States to enhance their capacity for reliable collection, analysis and dissemination of sex-disaggregated data and research on ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, national minorities, indigenous peoples, and the Roma and Sinti populations according to standardized methodology, and to consider issuing grants or other means of supporting non-governmental organizations to collect, analyse and disseminate sex-disaggregated data and research, for the purpose of protecting, promoting and fulfilling women's rights;
    4. Encourages participating States to exchange best practice concerning gender, ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, national minorities, indigenous peoples, and the Roma and Sinti populations in order to develop more effective policies regarding their political, economic and social inclusion and identify priority areas for further capacity building;
    5. Urges participating States to increase women's participation in negotiations to resolve conflicts and in post-conflict reconciliation efforts and governance and to provide assistance that addresses the specific needs of women, in particular minority women, as per United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, especially in those conflicts arising from intolerance and where sexual violence, which has a gender and ethnic dimension, has been systematic;
    6. Calls on the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, and the Gender Unit at the OSCE Secretariat to strengthen their collaboration in promoting awareness of and solutions to the challenges faced by women belonging to minority groups;
    7. Encourages participating States to recognize the importance of education, especially for women, since education is the most important tool to enable them to make a living independently, and notes that education is a key factor for women belonging to the Roma or Sinti populations or any other minority group.