Visit of the military and civilian observers from the OSCE states to Ukraine should be extended

Member organisations of the Civic Solidarity Platform today called on the OSCE participating States to extend once more the visit of the group of military and civilian observers from OSCE participating states to the East and South of Ukraine.

Currently, 42 observers from twenty-four participating States are deployed in the East and South of Ukraine at the request of the government of the country. A first visit to Crimea by this group was organized from 5 to 12 March 2014, when the observers were unable to move beyond checkpoints at the administrative border. Subsequently, Ukraine asked for an extension of the visit until 16 March, to cover the south and east of the country, and once again until 20 March.

In the course of the last week, intensive negotiations have been underway in Vienna between the OSCE participating States on a mandate of a full-fledged combined OSCE mission to monitor both military security and human dimension situation in various regions of Ukraine. While a consensus-based agreement on the deployment of such a mission was reached several days ago, there is still no agreement on its substantive and geographic mandate. The mission is ready to go but cannot do it in the absence of a consensus which is blocked by one participating State.

We are very concerned about lack of progress in reaching this agreement when the OSCE presence is badly needed on the ground. We believe that in the current circumstances, when the situation in the East and South of Ukraine remains volatile and violent provocations continue in a number of cities, when Crimea is controlled by the military forces of another participating State, when there are new tensions around the situation in Transnistria, and when a mandate of a full-fledged OSCE mission in Ukraine is still not agreed upon, it is of outmost importance that the OSCE presence on the ground in Ukraine continues. New extension of the visit of the already deployed group of military and civilian observers is a logical and necessary temporary solution.

Therefore, we urge Ukraine and other OSCE participating States to make on 20 March a decision to extend once more the visit of the group of military and civilian observers from OSCE participating States to the East and South of Ukraine. At the same time, we call on all OSCE participating States, under the leadership of the OSCE Chairmanship, to intensify their efforts to reach an agreement on the mandate of a combined OSCE observation mission to Ukraine. All States should act with a full sense of responsibility for de-escalation of the conflict and prevention of further deterioration of the situation.

 

Bir Duino – Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Movement
Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Freedom Files (Russia)
Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Vanadzor (Armenia)
Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
Public Verdict Foundation (Russia)
Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)
 

The visit of the group of military and civilian observers to Ukraine is taking place under Chapter III of the OSCE Vienna Document 2011, which allows for voluntary hosting of visits to dispel concerns about unusual military activities. The Vienna Document 2011 is one of the main confidence-building measures developed by the OSCE. Under this document, all participating States are required to share information on their military forces, equipment and defence planning. The Document also provides for inspections and evaluation visits that can be conducted by observers from the OSCE participating States on the territory of any participating State that has armed forces.