OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopts Berlin Declaration
BERLIN, 10 July 2002 - After meetings in Berlin from 6 to 10 July 2002 more than 300 parliamentarians of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly unanimously adopted the Berlin Declaration focussing on the political, economic and the human rights aspects of the central theme of the Session: "Confronting Terrorism: a Global Challenge in the 21st Century". In addition several documents were adopted, including resolutions on Belarus, Moldova, Southeast Europe, combating trafficking in human beings, anti-Semitic violence in the OSCE region and Roma education.
The Berlin Declaration, adopted at the 11th Annual Session of the OSCE PA, resolutely condemns all acts of terrorism, whatever their motivations or origin, and underlines the solidarity of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in the struggle against terrorism. The Declaration reminds all OSCE participating States that any measures which may restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms in response to terrorism have to fully respect international law and relevant OSCE commitments and must be viewed as exceptional, temporary and non-arbitrary. Parliaments are encouraged to actively protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms during states of emergency and other times of conflict or threats to national security, exercising in particular their responsibility for the oversight of executive power and the creation of law. The Assembly stresses the need for the international community to look into the profound causes often underlying terrorist acts, these being the political, economic and social inequalities prevailing in the world. In addition the Declaration stresses that the struggle against financing terrorism and the methods for freezing the assets of terrorist organizations have to be supplemented by consistent efforts to fight organized crime, illegal trade with drugs and arms, trafficking in human beings, money laundering, hostage taking and other crimes that are a main source of financing terrorist activities. The Declaration also calls upon the governments of participating states to revise the Bucharest Plan of Action for Combating Terrorism by including provisions relating to the impact of terrorism on women, and by recognizing the need for increased participation of women in the process of conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
The Resolution on Belarus strongly urges the government of Belarus to co-operate with the OSCE and its institutions, including the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in facilitating compliance with OSCE commitments.
On Moldova the Declaration urges the government and parliament of Moldova and the Transdniestrian leadership to resume their contact and dialogue and to show political will in order to define the mutually acceptable arrangements leading to a comprehensive settlement on the status of Transdniestria within the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Moldova.
The Resolution on Southeast Europe calls upon the international community to remain actively engaged in the region while encouraging governments, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo, to undertake greater responsibility for public affairs and administration.
On combating trafficking in human beings, especially woman and children, the Declaration requests that OSCE participating states take unequivocal responsibility for the problem and take appropriate counter-measures including adoption and implementation of appropriate legislation guaranteeing effective criminal prosecution.
The Resolution on anti-Semitic violence unequivocally condemns the alarming escalation of anti-Semitic violence throughout the OSCE region. The Resolution urges all States to make public statements recognizing violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties as anti-Semitic, as well as to issue strong, public declarations condemning the depredations.
On Roma education the Declaration recognizes the urgent need to develop effective educational programmes addressing problems of individuals belonging to Roma and other groups traditionally identified as Gypsies and to create conditions for them to have equal opportunities to participate fully in the life of their respective societies.
On the final day of the Annual Session in Berlin the Assembly elected Mr. Bruce George, Chairman of the British House of Commons Defence Committee, as its new President to a one year term. Mr. George has served the Assembly since 1992 subsequently as Committee Rapporteur, Committee Chair and Vice-President. He succeeds Mr. Adrian Severin who has served the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly for the past two years. Also three new Vice-Presidents of the Assembly were elected: Mrs. Barbara Haering (MP Switzerland), Mr. Ihor Ostash (MP Ukraine), and Mr. Gert Weißkirchen (MP Germany). During the 11th Annual Session the Assembly also elected new Chairs of its Three General Committees: Mr. Göran Lennmarker (MP Sweden) chairs the General Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Mr. Oleg Bilorus (MP Ukraine) chairs the General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, and Mrs. Elena Mizulina (MP Russian Federation) chairs the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.