Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1209th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 13 December 2018
The delegation of Ukraine thanks the Chair of the Security Committee H.E. Ambassador Victoria González Román and the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee H.E. Ambassador Sian MacLeod for their comprehensive presentations to the Permanent Council and their dedicated work in the course of the year.
We highly value the goal-oriented activities of the Security and Human Dimension Committees, which substantially contributed to the preparation of the Ministerial Council meeting in Milan.
This year’s Ministerial Council debates reaffirmed the continuing relevance of the OSCE comprehensive approach to security and validity of the OSCE norms and principles which form the basis for our co-operation. The biggest challenge to our common security remains the clear, gross and uncorrected violation of the OSCE principles and commitments by the Russian Federation and its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, including the continuing hostilities in Donbas and the recent Russian unprovoked act of aggression near the Kerch Strait in international waters of the Black Sea. We are convinced that our efforts in the work of the committees should be directed at seeking full implementation of the existing OSCE commitments and addressing new cross-dimensional challenges which arise in the current environment of large-scale application of methods of hybrid warfare.
With regard to the work of the Security Committee, we welcome the particular focus on countering the phenomena of foreign terrorist fighters. As a country suffering from heightened terrorist threats instigated from the territory of the aggressor-state, we hold the view that OSCE activities on countering the phenomena of foreign terrorist fighters should not be limited to terrorist groups operating in the Middle East. Foreign members of the Russian armed formations in Donbas and the terrorist organizations “DNR” and “LNR” are no less dangerous to the stability and cohesion of their countries of origin when they return back and they must be taken to account for their illegal actions.
The situation of ongoing violation of Ukraine’s international border from the Russian side underscores the imperative of seeking full implementation of the OSCE Border Security and Management Concept and other OSCE border-related commitments. This matter is of crucial importance from any security angle, be it countering terrorist activity, organized crime, illicit trafficking and others.
Regarding the work of the Human Dimension Committee I would like to recall Ukraine’s Foreign Minister stating at the Ministerial Council in Milan that the OSCE must act with resolve in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms and preventing the transformation of temporarily occupied territories into human rights “grey zones”. We highly appreciate Ambassador MacLeod’s two years of dedicated efforts at the helm of the HDC aimed, in particular, at enhancing implementation of the OSCE commitments in such areas as freedom of expression and freedom of the media, freedoms of assembly and association, tolerance and non-discrimination, rule of law and many others. We welcome the adoption of the MC decision on the safety of journalists, the first decision in the human dimension since 2014. Looking ahead, we should seek to find effective ways of addressing grave human rights violations in the territories of Ukraine illegally occupied by the Russian Federation – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, parts of the Donbas region of Ukraine. There are large volumes of factual evidence that the most glaring violations of human rights, persecution and oppression take place under Russia’s occupation.
I will conclude by again expressing Ukraine’s gratitude to Ambassadors Victoria González Román of Spain and Sian MacLeod of the UK, as well as to their teams, for leading the work of the Security and Human Dimension Committees during this intensive year. We wish every success in their future endeavours.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.