From July 5 to July 9, a summer session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was held in Minsk attended by about 300 deputies from 57 countries. As a result of the discussions, resolutions and a declaration were adopted.

Voting on Resolutions at the Plenary Session of OSCE PA Annual Session in Minsk on 9 July 2017

The declaration formulates recommendations for national governments, parliaments and the international community to respond to the pressing challenges and threats facing them.

Thus, parliamentarians noted with concern the existing security challenges throughout the OSCE area, including threats to cybersecurity, terrorism, protracted conflicts and a general deterioration in the atmosphere of trust, security and cooperation.

In this regard The Parliamentary Assembly urged states to reaffirm their commitment to multilateral diplomacy to ensure comprehensive security, to significantly increase their efforts to address the most pressing social problems. The Assembly reiterated its support for the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, adopted in February 2015 in the Belarusian capital.

In addition, parliamentarians called on the OSCE countries to intensify their efforts on thoroughly consideration economic and environmental issues, to seek opportunities for the development of regional and subregional cooperation.

Belarus prepared a resolution “Development of modern and effective legislative, regulatory, administrative measures to respond to the emergence of new psychoactive substances” for consideration at the session. The document was supported by the OSCE parliamentarians and entered the Minsk Declaration. In addition to that, the Belarusian side co-authored several resolutions developed by foreign colleagues. These documents concerned, for example, the fight against terrorism (Russia), the problems of intolerance and discrimination based on religion (Russia), the prevention of child sexual exploitation on the internet (USA), the democratic development of multicultural values (Azerbaijan). All of them are included in the final document of the 26th summer session of the OSCE PA.

The President of the Republic of Belarus in his speech made a proposal to hold a forum called “Helsinki – 2”. A resolution on combating terrorism was adopted, a new Silk Road support group was created under the OSCE PA, as well as a committee on counteracting terrorism.

The holding of the OSCE Forum in Minsk is a significant victory for the Belarusian leadership, which means in a certain sense the international legitimacy of the Belarusian parliament, the Belarusian elections, the Belarusian political regime.

There was possible to block a collective resolution of the anti-Belarusian orientation for the first time in the history of the Belarusian State. Four of the six members of the delegation from Belarus supported the Ukrainian resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Belarusian human rights defenders used an opportunity in connection with the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to held on the eve of the summit a parallel civil society forum titled: “6 years after the report on the situation with human rights in Belarus within the framework of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism: what has changed?”. The goal was to provide alternative information on the state of civil and political rights in Belarus to the session participants.

Group photo of the OSCE PA’s Bureau at the Plenary Session of OSCE PA Annual Session in Minsk on 9 July 2017

There was a unique event. The fact is that Belarusian human rights activists for 13 years did not gather at home together, as the authorities did not allow that. And the representation was weighty: representatives of almost 60 Belarusian and 25 foreign non-governmental organisations took a part in the event.

Attachments. Opinions of the forum participants.

Harmatny V.P.,

Head of the info center of the

Belarusian section of the ISHR

Kotlyar I.I.,

Professor of political science,

Chairman of the Board of the

Belarusian section of the ISHR

Illustrations  ©OSCE Parliamentary Assembly