On November 30, 2022, the OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference was held in Lodz (Poland). The event was opened by statements from representatives of «Memorial», the «Viasna» Human Rights Center, the Center for Civil Liberties, and Nobel Prize laureates who are part of the partner network of the Civic Solidarity Platform.
The problems of Russian aggression against Ukraine, the need for an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes were raised, and possible mechanisms for combating impunity were considered.
The session “Crisis in Russia and Belarus: from repression to aggression” talked about Belarus’s complicity in the war in Ukraine, digital repression, suppression of human rights protection, persecutions of activists, accusations of extremism.
The conference participants addressed the diplomatic missions of states about the need for active attention to the Central Asian region, due to the increasing trends of narrowing the political space for civil society and human rights defenders, the persecution of human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and the need to support and effectively use mechanisms to protect the rights of human rights defenders.
At the conference, participants adopted the Declaration “Stop aggression, end impunity, ensure justice and accountability, and begin the process of strengthening the OSCE and reaffirming a strong commitment to the Helsinki Principles.”
The Declaration was presented to representatives of the OSCE Chairmanships (current and future) and the leadership of the OSCE institutions, each of whom could then make brief remarks in response.
The first to speak to the conference participants was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland and the current OSCE Chairman Zbignev Rau. He particularly focused on the activation of the Moscow Mechanism for Ukraine and assured that “the Polish mission will continue to fight for Russia to appear before the international court.”
Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani, the future chairman of the OSCE, said: “Civil society organizations and civil society will play a key role for the OSCE.” Also speaking were Helga Smith - OSCE Secretary General, Matteo Mecaci - Director of the OSCE ODIHR, Teresa Ribeiro - OSCE Representative on issues of media freedom, Kairat Abdrakhmanov - OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.
On December 1, some participants of the OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference took part in the 29th meeting of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights