The Civic Solidarity Platform, a network of more than 60 human rights NGOs from throughout the OSCE region, convened the 2014 OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference in Basel on 2-3 December, building upon the tradition of OSCE parallel civil society conferences in Astana in 2010, Vilnius in 2011, Dublin in 2012, and Kiev in 2013.
At the conference, activists from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, France, Finland, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the USA discussed and adopted the attached policy document, developed by the Civic Solidarity Platform and containing civil society analysis and recommendations on alarming human dimension issues across the OSCE region, on human dimensions issues in Switzerland, in light of the country’s OSCE Chairmanship, and human dimensions issues in Serbia, in light of the country’s incoming OSCE Chairmanship.
It also includes reflections on the impact of the crisis in Ukraine on comprehensive security in Europe as well as recommendations for enhanced engagement of civil society in the OSCE work. Many of the recommendations are based on results of the work of regional OSCE civil society workshop, held throughout 2014 in Belgrade, Vienna, Dushanbe, and Tbilisi. They were organized jointly by the Civic Solidarity Platform and local civil society organisations with support from the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship and brought together more than 150 representatives of civil society organisations from across the OSCE region as well as experts from international NGOs and OSCE institutions.
The outcome document is addressed to governments of the OSCE participating States that will be gathering in Basel for this year’s meeting of the Ministerial Council, as well as all the OSCE political bodies and institutions, including the current and the incoming Chairmanships, the Permanent Council, the Human Dimension Committee, ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the OSCE field missions.
We hope that this analysis and the recommendations that flow from it will be studied carefully at the Ministerial Council meeting and in the work of OSCE. We look forward to reaction from all interested stakeholders. While some of our recommendations may be implemented immediately, others relate to systemic problems and will require consistent effort over a longer period of time. We express our commitment as civil society actors to continue to actively engage in the work of OSCE in the spirit of the Helsinki Principles and our determination to contribute to the full realization of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law throughout the OSCE region.