The OSCE traces its origins back to the detente phase of the early 1970s, when the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was created to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. Meeting over two years in Helsinki and Geneva, the CSCE reached agreement on the Helsinki Final Act, which was signed on 1 August 1975. This document contained a number of key commitments on politico-military, economic and environmental and human rights issues that became central to the so-called «Helsinki process». It also established fundamental principles (the «Decalogue») governing the behaviour of States towards their citizens, as well as towards each other.
The OSCE is a pan-European security body whose 57 participating States span the globe, encompassing three continents – North America, Europe and Asia.
The OSCE is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its approach to security is unique in being both comprehensive and co-operative: comprehensive in that it deals with three dimensions of security – the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human.
The Organization maintains a regular dialogue and co-operation with partner states and a large number of other international, regional and sub-regional organizations. The Mediterranean and Asian Partners of Co-operation comprise 11 states: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia; and Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand.
Unanimously adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in November 2010 decision on Ukraine's chairmanship in the OSCE in 2013 was the recognition of the role of our country in strengthening security and stability in the OSCE area.
Among the main priorities of Ukraine in the OSCE are:
Ukraine also pays special attention to the development of cooperation between the participating States in protecting environment, combating human trafficking, promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination, strengthening freedom of speech.
On 21 March 2014, the Permanent Council of OSCE decided to deploy the Special monitoring mission of unarmed civilian observers to Ukraine. The Mission is being deployed following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government and was agreed by all 57 OSCE’s participating States.
The SMM aim is gather information and report on the security situation, establish and report the facts, especially on specific incidents on the ground, including those concerning alleged violations of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments as well as to monitor and support respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and facilitate the dialogue on the ground in order to reduce tensions and promote normalization of the situation.
On 14 of April, 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the deployment of the SMM was signed in Vienna in order to create appropriate conditions for the activities of the SMM in Ukraine.
The SMM plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of all relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements which include the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015. These Minsk documents establish the agreed commitments in accordance to which the SMM has to ensure effective monitoring and verification of implementation of the Minsk arrangements, in particular those related to the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and border monitoring.
The mandate of the SMM covers the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
The monitors report their daily observations to the OSCE and its participating States. Such reports are available on the OSCE website.
On 2 of July, 2014 it was agreed that Russia will provide access to the OSCE international observers to monitor Russian checkpoints «Donetsk» and «Gukovo» in accordance with Joint Declaration of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, France, Germany and the Russian Federation (Berlin Declaration).
On 24 of July 2014, the OSCE decided to deploy an “Observer Mission to the two Russian checkpoints of «Donetsk» and «Gukovo». There will be one Observer Team working 24/7 at each checkpoint at Gukovo and Donetsk.
Paragraph 4 of the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 envisages the OSCE permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian State border and verification with the creation of security zone in border areas of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Full implementation of paragraph 4 of the Minsk protocol is inextricably linked to accomplishing the objectives of establishing a sustainable cease-fire regime and ultimate peaceful resolution of the situation in Donbas.
For more information on the activities of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Russian state border please visit Mission webpage.
The former OSCE Mission in Ukraine was established in August 1994. Its main purpose was to underpin the stabilization processes in Crimea. In 1999 the Mission was closed after full implementation of its mandate. This was the first ever case when an OSCE field operation was closed after successful fulfillment of its tasks.
1 June 1999, with the adoption of the mandate of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, a new form of co-operation between Ukraine and OSCE was created.
The normative basis of the Co-ordinator's activities consists of its mandate, adopted by the Decision of the OSCE Permanent Council and being extended every six months, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the OSCE signed on 13 July 1999 and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 10 January 2000.
The PCU is tasked with planning, implementation and monitoring of projects involving the OSCE, its institutions and the relevant Ukrainian authorities. These projects, which are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, may cover all aspects of OSCE activities and can involve Ukrainian governmental and non-governmental organizations. At present the Co-ordinator is working on implementation of projects in the following fields:
More information on the activities of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine is available at the link.
Ukraine also cooperates with OSCE institutions, especially with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
Cooperation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities carried out in the context of drafting legislation of Ukraine to protect the rights of formerly deported people and language policy and minority issues in bilateral relations of Ukraine with other countries.
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which, among other things, engaged in election observation in OSCE participating States, monitored the electoral process in Ukraine since 1998.
Ukraine also pays special attention to the development of constructive dialogue with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Speech, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental areas towards the development of this component of regional security, as well as with OSCE Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
The Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE – established in April 1991; Plenary meetings are held one time in a year with the support of the International Secretariat of the PA, located in Copenhagen (Denmark).
The Baku Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted in July 2014 in Baku (Azerbaijan) called for Russia to cancel the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and also contains a resolution «Clear, gross and uncorrected violations of Helsinki principles by the Russian Federation» which refers the so-called referendum in the Crimea, held on 16 of March, 2014, to illegitimate and illegal act, whose findings have no legal force.
During the 24th Summer Session of the OSCE PA (5-9 July 2015), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly member states adopted the Helsinki Declaration, which includes, among others, two resolutions in support of Ukraine «Continuation of clear, gross and uncorrected violations of OSCE commitments and international norms by the Russian Federation» and «Abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in the Russian Federation».
Information about the Permanent delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine at the OSCE PA is available at link.