CHAPTER III

DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN QUESTIONS

    1. Recognizing the important role that the Helsinki Final Act and the CSCE process played in bringing the Cold War to an end and promoting universal human rights in the OSCE region,

    2. Recalling that the Decalogue of Principles of the Helsinki Final Act has played an important role in stabilizing relations in the OSCE area for decades,

    3. Noting that the seventh of these Principles rests at the heart of the OSCE’s success, as all participating States recognized that the human rights of all people in all OSCE countries are the legitimate concern of each and every OSCE participating State,

    4. Affirming the right of and responsibility for OSCE participating States to speak out when abuses take place in other OSCE participating States, including in cases of politically motivated imprisonment, imposition of the death penalty, discriminatory treatment, including that of migrants, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, and actions against journalists and human rights defenders,

    5. Welcoming the work of OSCE Institutions in monitoring and calling attention to breaches of human rights, particularly in the fields of freedom of expression, minorities’ rights, democratic rights and gender equality,

    6. Expressing its appreciation to the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the Representative on Freedom of the Media for their continued monitoring of States’ implementation of commitments,

    7. Reiterating the positive contribution that independent election observation by both domestic and international observers can make to democratic processes in all countries,

    8. Convinced that the current decision-making structures within the OSCE are inadequate for addressing serious human rights concerns and advancing human rights norms, as these are best addressed through open and transparent processes,

    9. Noting that the OSCE’s annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, portrayed as the primary forum for discussing human rights issues, does not provide sufficient and timely monitoring or review of human rights in the OSCE region,

    10. Concerned about the lack of agreement within the OSCE Ministerial Council in recent years on virtually any decisions related to human rights and humanitarian questions,

    11. Concerned that participating States have been diluting the mandates of OSCE field missions to effectively monitor and report on human rights-related issues,

    12. Recognizing that criminal terrorists and other non-state actors can pose significant security and human rights threats, and that neither existing criminal legislation nor the traditional laws of war may be adequate for addressing such challenges, yet mindful that it is necessary to balance the need to enhance counterterrorism measures with safeguarding fundamental rights and freedoms,

    13. Recognizing the challenges that migration poses for participating States and expressing deep concern at the considerable number of migrants below the age of 18 who may be unaccompanied or are otherwise vulnerable to neglect, exploitation and abuse,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Calls upon the OSCE Ministerial Council to adopt a decision clearly recognizing that the human rights of all populations and peoples in the entire OSCE region, particularly the rights of IDPs, refugees and people residing in conflict-affected areas are the legitimate concern of all OSCE participating States, and that effective implementation of these rights requires transparency through ongoing monitoring and public reporting;

    2. Calls upon the OSCE’s decision-making structures to once again put individuals’ rights at the core of their mandates, and to this end reiterates its call for the Permanent Council to organize fortnightly meetings to examine issues having to do with human rights, with these meetings to be conducted in a manner that is open to the public and the media and with the participation of civil society representatives, and to undertake in this way the continuous monitoring of the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments;

    3. Expresses concern about efforts in several OSCE participating States to impose increasing and unnecessary restrictions on the work of civil society groups;

    4. Calls upon the Russian Federation to end its attempts to stigmatize and discredit civil society groups by labelling them “foreign agents,” urges Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to refrain from enacting similar “foreign agent” legislation, and condemns the Russian Federation's suppression of civil society, in particular through legislation banning the activities of so-called “undesirable” organizations and projects funded by those organizations;

    5. Strongly condemns the persecution and violence against Christians and other religious minorities in the OSCE area and beyond, including in the Middle East and North Africa, and actions that limit their right to religious freedom and to practise their faith;

    6. Condemns the continued persecution and imprisonment on politically motivated charges of journalists and human rights defenders in several OSCE participating States, and expresses its concern at the continued misuse of tax and administrative legislation to justify these acts;

    7. Expresses concern at the abuse of pre-trial detention mechanisms, particularly in politically sensitive cases, and calls upon OSCE participating States only to accept pre trial detention in exceptional cases and when public security is at stake or when a suspect presents a genuine flight risk;

    8. Calls upon the Georgian Government to address the concerns enumerated in the report of the OSCE/ODIHR Trial Monitoring (2014) conducted to observe the trials of former senior officials, and handle all cases in a transparent manner, consistent with the rule of law and fair trial standards;

    9. Expresses further concern at the disappearance of and lack of information regarding numerous critics of governments within the OSCE area, and calls upon governments to provide any and all information on the whereabouts of these individuals to the families of these persons and to the international community;

    10. Calls upon the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Representative on Freedom of the Media to continue to speak out publicly when rights are abused, including in cases of politically motivated imprisonment, imposition of the death penalty, discriminatory treatment including that of migrants and refugees and actions against journalists and human rights defenders;

    11. Calls upon participating States, in light of the horrific attacks in Paris and Copenhagen earlier this year, to intensify their efforts to implement the Basel Ministerial Council declaration on Enhancing Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism, including supporting civil society efforts;

    12. Calls upon participating States to hold a high-level conference to address racism and to develop an OSCE action plan to address racial justice, including adopting laws, policies, and practices to end discriminatory policing in the wake of numerous deaths by law enforcement of people of African descent and others across the OSCE region;

    13. Reiterates its call for OSCE field missions to be given robust and multi-year mandates that include monitoring and reporting on human rights and humanitarian concerns;

    14. Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to reverse their decision to terminate as of 4 June 2015 the Memorandum of Understanding on the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Baku, and stresses that the field office of the OSCE must continue to be able to support Azerbaijan in upholding its OSCE commitments;

    15. Supports the co-operation agreement between the OSCE PA and the OSCE on election observation activities, recognizing that the close partnership between the OSCE PA and the OSCE/ODIHR is essential to the successful conduct of this common endeavour;

    16. Supports the conflict prevention work conducted by the High Commissioner on National Minorities, whose expertise on inter-ethnic relations also serves an important function in supporting minorities’ rights and supports and encourages the joint efforts of the HCNM and ODIHR to monitor the human rights situation in conflict-affected areas;

    17. Emphasizes the need – as part of efforts to reconfirm and build upon OSCE achievements – to integrate a gender perspective into all policies at the level of the participating States and within OSCE structures and institutions, including the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and its Secretariat;

    18. Calls upon the OSCE Ministerial Council to reaffirm the commitment of the participating States to respect the inherent rights of all persons as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Helsinki Final Act, and CSCE and OSCE human dimension commitments, to prioritize preventing violations of those rights, particularly violations against persons in vulnerable situations, to actively promote respect for such persons, and to actively promote tolerance and inclusiveness as part of OSCE values;

    19. Further calls upon OSCE participating States to rescind all anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) legislation, including the criminalization of providing information on LGBT issues;

    20. Stresses that participating States must provide equal protections of fundamental rights to all residents, regardless of citizenship, as a clear recognition that the OSCE stands for human rights rather than just citizens’ rights;

    21. Applauds the significant efforts of States neighbouring crisis situations to care for refugees, and calls upon participating States across the OSCE area to increase their efforts to care for people fleeing their homes out of fear of persecution and personal safety, and to ensure the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to their places of permanent residence;

    22. Calls upon the participating States of the OSCE to improve mechanisms for co ordination and co-operation of immigration policies, and to concentrate more efforts on stabilizing war and crisis zones as well as improving the economic situation in countries of origin and transit;

    23. Urges the participating States to address the specific situation of migrant children, in particular by ensuring the protection of their rights, working towards durable solutions which are in the best interests of the child and are in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and strengthening mutual co operation and co-operation with other countries as needed;

    24. Deplores the continued fighting in Ukraine, which has led to thousands of deaths and has an enormously negative impact on the humanitarian situation;

    25. Condemns the continued occupation by the Russian Federation of the Crimean peninsula, and the resulting abuses of minorities’ rights, particularly those of Crimean Tatars, and attempts to silence human rights defenders and independent media;

    26. Calls for the recognition of the special and troubling human rights situation of persons living in occupied territories, and stresses that occupying powers must recognize and live up to their particular responsibilities in this regard;

    27. Calls for respect and realization of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons living in conflict zones;

    28. Calls for the immediate release of Nadiya Savchenko, a Member of Parliament in Ukraine, from detention in the Russian Federation, on humanitarian grounds;

    29. Urges the Government of Belarus to co-operate fully with the OSCE, to immediately release and rehabilitate all political prisoners and to secure full freedom for the media and the political opposition;

    30. Deplores the persistence of cases of torture and other gross mistreatment within the OSCE area, and urges all OSCE participating States to guarantee independent monitoring of detention facilities in order to work towards the complete eradication of torture in the OSCE area;

    31. Considers the death penalty to be an inhuman and degrading punishment, an act of torture unacceptable to states respecting human rights, and calls on retentionist states to impose an immediate moratorium on executions;

    32. Encourages OSCE parliamentarians to educate and engage citizens, promote political dialogue, and build multi-party networks in order to support women’s participation in public and political life in their countries;

    33. Encourages participating States to consider adapting their legislation to deal with terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters, to ensure that basic human rights, including the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, are fully respected;

    34. Calls upon the United States Government, working with other OSCE countries, to step up efforts to close the detention facility at Guantanamo, and to reconsider the application of traditional laws of war in the fight against terrorism in view of the amorphous and open ended character of this fight.