Ο βουλευτής Κυριάκος Χατζηγιάννης βρίσκεται στη Τουρκία για να συμμετάσχει στην αποστολή παρατηρητών της Κ.Σ.ΟΑΣΕ για την παρακολούθηση των βουλευτικών εκλογών που θα πρα ...
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Ημερομηνία: 24-02-2017
Παρουσίαση από το βουλευτή δρ Κυριάκο Χατζηγιάννη των κύριων σημείων της εκθέσεως του στην 16η χειμερινή συνάντηση της Κ. Σ. του ΟΑΣΕ που πραγματοποιείται μεταξύ 23 και 24 Φεβρουάριου 2017 στη Βιέννη, Αυστρίας.



The General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions


Vienna 23 February 2017

Dear colleagues,

We find ourselves in a time when human rights are being challenged from all directions. There is a heightened sense of threat in many of our countries and citizens rightfully demand that their governments keep them safe. Solutions that effectively address security concerns and that are consistent with human rights can seem more distant and difficult to achieve than ever.

This Human Rights Committee is part of an organization that promotes and protects human rights as an essential aspect of security. It is therefore important that we address these issues directly. In preparing my committee report for the 26thAnnual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly to be held in Minsk, this summer, I intend to focus on issues related to protecting human rights at a time of heightened security threats.

International law recognizes exigencies that justify temporary derogation from certain human rights commitments. Such derogations provide governments the space and time they need in a time of crisis to focus their resources on addressing the immediate threat. The restoration of order and stability would be delayed, and possibly thwarted altogether, if governments faced the added burden of managing public manifestations of opposition or of defending themselves from a simultaneous onslaught of legal claims.

However, such situations are tremendously delicate. What begins as a justification for temporary derogation can easily evolve into a pretext for protracted repression. In climates of fear, human rights are frequently treated as a luxury that must be set aside until stability is restored to sustain them. Yet we know there is no foundation of stability that lacks the cement of human dignity.

This is why we must beware of states of emergency that go on for too long and of security practices that go too far.

Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights specifies that derogations must be “temporary, limited, and supervised.” Additionally, Article 15 notes that “certain Convention rights do not allow of any derogation,” among them “the right to life, except in the context of lawful acts of war, the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the prohibition of slavery and servitude, and the rule of ‘no punishment without law.’”

Therefore, I intend to focus my report on the ways in which government responses to threats can undermine stability themselves. I also intend to highlight the principles and mechanisms that can support governments’ efforts to preserve security while respecting the rule of law, human rights and their impartial and independent oversight.

While reaffirming the centrality of human rights to regional stability and cooperation, particular attention is owed to the most vulnerable populations, particularly refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants, as well as the rights of people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. Equal focus must be placedon gender-related rights, taking due account of the central role that women must have in peace-making, as well as efforts towards women’s equal status and standing in all fields but also persistent challenges such as ensuring that woman receive the same pay as men for the same work.Persons with disabilities being another significant group,I intend to focus on the main challenges that they face, which pertain to their integration and full participation in the political, economic and social life.

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you here, today, represent countries that have suffered from the appalling consequences of terrorist attacks – attacks that strike at the most basic of human rights, the right of citizens to enjoy their lives in freedom and without the fear of violence. Since the last Annual Session in July2016, we have witnessed several horrifying attacks in Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Turkey, the United States, and elsewhere. As long as this threat remains real and omnipresent, States must endeavor towards ensuring the safety of their citizens.

However, our efforts to defend against terrorism, violent extremism, and other forces that threaten the fabric of our societies, must not undermine the precious goods that we should always seek to protect. We feel the pain of these attacks because they cause injury and death and because they seek to attack the values that underpin our societies– the right to free expression, to freedom of movement and assembly, and to freedom of belief and worship.

Our response, while addressing the need for security, must not overstep the crucial bounds of fundamental freedoms and democratic principles to become a part of the problem, rather than the solution. We cannot move to a concept of security that permits governments to persistently restrict and even violate people’s fundamental rights in order to provide for the safety of citizens. The Helsinki Final Act, to which all participating States have committed themselves, was clear: national sovereignty is not a legitimate justification to dismiss concerns about fundamental rights and freedoms; rather, human rights are the concern of all participating States because they have real consequences for regional security.

The ongoing civil war in Syria, and the migrant crisis it has spawned, prove the relevance of this foundational insight. We can see in the Syrian example that a government’s violation of the rights of its people must not be considered a sovereign prerogative. Such gross violations of rights are internally destabilizing and the consequences of this instability can quickly spread.

This is why the OSCE’s comprehensive model of security, including the Human Dimension, is more important than ever. We are neither safe nor free without the democratic safeguards of human rights upon which our citizens depend. Security and human rights are compatible, even in difficult times, and require our active attention. The OSCE must redouble its response to efforts to deprioritize its work in the human dimension. Such downgrading fuels instability, insecurity, and conflict. This response must include identifying and rejecting efforts to exploit and undermine OSCE human dimension meetings and events.  The OSCE must further strengthen its clout, relevance and visibility in this field by modernizing and complementing, where necessary, its Human Dimension mechanisms.

In response to terrorism and other destabilizing forces throughout the OSCE region, we are increasingly seeing prolonged states of emergency and regularized emergency laws. As previously stated, states of emergency are supposed to be temporary limits of some rights in order to better protect citizens. These limitations cannot be allowed to become the norm - no one should have to live in a permanent state of emergency.

Moreover, in times of crises, judicial oversight and due process must constitute integral components of the strategy for restoring stability. In the sameway, crises should never be used to justify the weakening of independent and effective oversight of security services. In this respect, it is essential to stress that torture can never be an acceptable tool in the fight against terrorism or in the name of citizens’ safety.

Additionally, I would like to note that reactionary measures, such as banning certain items of religious clothing, may serve only to stigmatize already marginalized groups and undermine the fight against terrorism.

In efforts to combat terrorism and to ensure stability in multicultural societies, it is critical that interreligious dialogue be further strengthened and that this be reflected in the OSCE’s efforts to further upgrade its Human Dimension.

In light of the direct relationship between terrorism and organized crime, it is also important that the OSCE Human Dimension place greater attention on those forms of organized crime that entail gross human rights violations. Cyber-security and protecting the rights of technology and information users must have a central place in anti-terrorism efforts, as well as in efforts to ensure the security and human rights of citizens. Greater efforts must also be made to effectively address human trafficking and human smuggling, which has tragically exacerbated the migrant crisis. Furthermore, efforts are needed to address the destruction, looting and smuggling of artifacts in times of crisis, in general and by jihadists in particular. Art smuggling not only serves as a source of funding for jihadists, but also as a tool for the “cultural cleansing” and “identity loss” of persecuted and/or uprooted populations. I therefore intend to stress in my report the need for a collective response to threats against our common heritage, by means of enhanced mechanisms and legal measures.

Dear Colleagues,

Many countries of the OSCE region are directly affected by the refugee and migrant crisis, which constitutes a transnational challenge affecting the stability of states and societies, as refugees and migrants are particularly threatened by growing nationalism, protectionism and populism. Every day we see hundreds of people risking their lives to reach our shores, including Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities escaping genocide. Often these people have endured immense hardships in fleeing terror and conflict. Too many States have resorted to unilateral actions to resolve this crisis, often prioritizing security far beyond any respect for the human rights of these vulnerable individuals. This crisis brings with it an added danger in the scourge of trafficking and smuggling of human beings that so often accompanies the mass movement of people away from conflict zones.

It is also important to focus more attention on the victims of conflicts and their rights. We need to promote policies and approaches that aim to help victims to deal with the trauma of war, reintegrating them back into society and addressing the socioeconomic needs of the population. We need to promote policies and approaches that aim to find out what the human security needs of people living in the conflict zones are, what the OSCE PA can do to safeguard human rights in the conflict zones and how to promote human rights and security to pave the way to peace.

Dear Colleagues,

While this is a challenging time for many governments, and the institutions that underpin them, we must, nevertheless, view this as an opportunity—an opportunity to reaffirm our fundamental shared values and belief in the importance of human rights, especially in response to the challenges that face us.

The OSCE region and the world are in urgent need of avigorous reaffirmation of human rights as an effective tool against corruption and arbitrary rule and as a means to achieve greater government transparency and accountability. Human rights are the best way to ensure that a government hears and can respond to the actual needs of its people. Further promoting education regarding human rights and “democratic security” is essential in this respect and for advancing peace and stability.

The two World Wars and what followed underscore the importance of political consensus regarding human dimension commitments and highlight the critical role the OSCE must play in bridging existing divergences in this field, by upholding its fundamental principles. Let’s draw the lesson of history and reaffirm the importance of robust democracy for freedom and peace. If we fail to learn this lesson, then we lose also the liberties in our societies.

I thank you all for your attention, and would warmly welcome your thoughts. I want the report and resolution that I present to our Minsk Annual Session in July to be a collective effort that we can all support.

Thank you for your attention.


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