Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the 1133rd meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 9 February 2017
We warmly welcome the Chair of the Security Committee, H.E. Ambassador Steffen Kongstad, the Chair of the Economic and Environmental Committee H.E. Ambassador Kayrat Sarybay and the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee H.E. Ambassador Sian MacLeod to the Permanent Council and thank them for their comprehensive presentations outlining the priorities of their activities in 2017.
We welcome the close interrelationship between the programme of the Austrian Chairmanship and the goal-oriented activities of the three committees. We are interested to see progress in each of the dimensions, recognizing that the OSCE’s multidimensional approach is at the heart of the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security.
This year we continue to confront fundamental challenges to the OSCE’s core mandate of conflict prevention and resolution. It therefore remains imperative to place focus on concrete actions to reestablish the security in the OSCE area based on the OSCE principles and commitments.
Following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which has severely undermined the very foundation of this Organization and in view of multi-faceted nature of this aggression, our efforts at rebuilding trust must be rooted in restoring respect for the founding principles of the Helsinki Final Act.
We expect that the work of the committees will contribute to finding effective responses to current critical security threats which are generated by ongoing aggression and are compounded by other serious security challenges.
Regarding the work of the Security Committee, we welcome the focus on issues of border management and security. We see significant value in advancing discussion on updating the OSCE Border-related instruments and strengthening border security, including by countering the phenomena of foreign terrorist fighters and other non-state actors. Follow-up on implementation of Counter-Terrorism Declaration adopted in Hamburg is essential. Particular attention should be given to the OSCE commitments on suppressing the financing of terrorism and preventing cross-border movement of persons, weapons and funds connected to the terrorist and illegal armed formations’ activities.
In the economic and environmental dimension, good governance, combating corruption and money laundering, energy security, environmental implications of armed conflicts remain Ukraine’s priorities. We will strongly support the work of the Second Committee on these topics. A particular area of our interest are the issues of economic renewal of Donbas and rehabilitation of conflict-affected territories.
Among the variety of pertinent subjects to be pursued in this dimension we wish to underscore that presently, when the concept of collective security is flagrantly breached by aggression of one participating State against another, deliberations on “common economic space” are far premature.
We are convinced that the current threats to human dignity and security in the OSCE region, emanating from the gross breach by one participating State of the Helsinki Decalogue principles and commitments, have to be duly reflected in the human dimension agenda for 2017.
We appreciate the Chair’s determination to help enhance implementation of existing human dimension commitments in such areas, in particular, as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, combating torture and hate speech, women’s participation in public and political life and challenges to democracy.
For the OSCE, which places respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms at the core of its comprehensive approach to security, protection of human rights in the situations of occupation remains a key unresolved challenge. Russia’s objections and denials have prevented the OSCE from using the available instruments of response. It remains crucial to continue to seek practical ways to address serious human rights violations by the Russian occupying authorities in Crimea and in the occupied part of Donbas. There is a particular role of the OSCE Institutions in monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine. We encourage the HDC Chair and the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship to provide every support to their activities.
We also encourage a specific attention in the work of the HDC to the challenges of state propaganda, the phenomenon of political prisoners, the right to a fair trial, combating torture and enforced disappearance.
We encourage the conduct of a special event on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees. The conflicts across and outside the OSCE region have resulted in massive forced displacement of people from the places of their normal residence. According to the latest figures about 1.7 million people have registered as IDPs in Ukraine. We should continue efforts in establishing a role that can be played by the OSCE in complementing the efforts of other international actors in dealing with the global challenge of large movements of people.
In conclusion, the Delegation of Ukraine wishes to express support for the Chairs’ work and wish them every success in their activities in the course of the year.
We stand ready to engage constructively with the three Chairs to reinforce the OSCE capacities and capabilities to effectively respond to current security challenges, to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.