Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Presentations by OSCE Committee chairs – UK response [February 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 9 February 2023.

Deputy Ambassador Deirdre Brown thanks the three OSCE Committee chairs for their proposals to focus on Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine in 2023.

Thank you, Chair, and thank you to the Chairs of the three Committees for presenting to the Permanent Council today. Ambassadors, we support the approaches you have proposed. Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine strikes at the very core of the obligations we have all freely signed up to as members of this organisation. It has created a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe, traumatised a generation of children and created a global food and energy crisis. Russia’s war must continue to command our full attention.

Ambassador Stoian, we welcome your appointment and proposed work-plan, particularly your focus on the protection of critical infrastructure, the impact of cyber-attacks, organised crime, border security and management, and the role of and impact on women and children in the conflict cycle. We fully support your approach to assess the current security environment and maintain a flexible agenda to take into account the evolutions of Russia’s premeditated and barbaric actions against Ukraine.

Ambassador Raunig, we welcome your proposed work-plan and in particular the inclusion of sessions on environmental degradation, biodiversity, water management, connectivity, food security, corruption, and energy security. All these issues have been affected by Russia’s on-going aggression – and must be addressed in that context.

We recognise the importance of the adoption of the Permanent Council decision necessary to begin the Economic and Environmental Forum cycle and we urge all delegations to agree to the draft circulated by the Chairpersonship.

Ambassador Callan, we welcome your appointment and proposed work-plan, in particular your focus on civil society, which can serve to reinforce the strong relationship the Human Dimension Committee has built with human rights defenders across the OSCE region. The topics freedom of the media, democratic institutions and freedom of assembly are also welcome, and provide ample opportunities to explore the link between internal repression of citizens’ rights and external aggression. We look forward to the Chair-in-Office’s Supplementary Meetings this year complementing and reinforcing the work of the Human Dimension Committee. We note the importance of having a space to discuss violations and abuses of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, including those documented in the Moscow Mechanism reports in 2022, which show no signs of abating this year.

Across the board, we welcome all attempts to ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women. A more diverse range of opinion will improve the content of any discussions.

Mr Chair, Russia chooses to continue its path of aggression and destruction. The response from the international community has been consistent: a call for an end to the aggression; and for peace. We will continue to work in the three Committees, with our Chair-in-Office, and with the OSCE Secretariat, institutions, and field missions – to uphold our fundamental principles and values. For Ukraine, and for all of us in this room.

Thank you.