UWC President participates in 25th Annual Session of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
On 1-5 July 2016 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij participated in the 25thAnnual Session of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.
On 2 July 2016, the UWC President addressed a Side Event of this Session on the topic Violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Crimea, organized jointly by the Permanent Delegation of Ukraine to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the UWC.
Eugene Czolij highlighted that, upon illegally occupying Crimea, the Russian Federation compounded its blatant violation of the international order and Ukraine’s territorial integrity by fully isolating Crimea and increasingly violating the religious, human, civic and political rights of the residents of Crimea, as documented by numerous organizations including the UN, the OSCE, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.
The UWC President also noted the recent dichotomy of perceptions of the Russian Federation, specifically whereas the majority of the international community treats the Russian Federation as an aggressor state, there are international institutions that mistakenly believe that the Russian Federation espouses democratic values and has a critical role to play in addressing global issues. He added that the latter is reminiscent of the policies of appeasement that led to the Second World War.
Acknowledging the critical role of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in cementing unity among its participating states around democratic values, Eugene Czolij, on behalf of the UWC:
- Urged the OSCE to help develop, via the Geneva plus format, a persistent and coordinated approach to the de-occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and for the OSCE to act as an observer;
- Appealed to the OSCE to take concrete action to establish a permanent observer mission in Crimea to directly obtain first-hand information, pressure the de facto authorities in Crimea to lessen human rights abuses and restore contact for the Crimean population to the outside world;
- Encouraged the OSCE to make every attempt to monitor court proceedings of politically motivated trials on the Crimean Peninsula, as well as in the Russian Federation where many of the political prisoners are forcibly transported to stand trial;
- Appealed to the OSCE to promote economic sanctions against the Russian Federation until it de-occupies Crimea and fully complies with the Minsk agreements; and
- Urged the OSCE to deploy a police mission to Eastern Ukraine to assist in restoring order for the local population and to enhance respect for the Minsk agreements by the Russian Federation.
The moderator of the Side Event was Head of the Permanent Delegation of the Parliament of Ukraine to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Artur Gerasymov.
Also addressing this event were Member of Parliament of Ukraine and Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov, who explained how the rights and freedoms of the Crimean Tatar people were being violated, and Mobile Groups Coordinator at the Head of the Centre for Civil Liberties Oleksandra Romantsova, who presented the second edition of the book Crimea – Peninsula of Fear.
In the framework of the five-day session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the UWC President had the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in his address to the Side Event with the newly elected President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Christine Muttonen, and the heads and members of national delegations, participants of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
On 5 July 2016, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a “Resolution on Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol”.
“All of the 57 OSCE participating states, including the Russian Federation, have an obligation to uphold the principles of the OSCE and as such, any behavior that contravenes the explicit mandate of the OSCE, especially the behavior of an aggressor state, should never be tolerated or tacitly excused,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.
The UWC President was accompanied during the Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly by UWC Liaison Officer in the EU Maryna Iaroshevych.