Interpretative Statement on the Adoption of the Decision on the 2020 HDIM

The Opening Session of the 2019 HDIM Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, 16 Sept 2019. (photo: OSCE)

Interpretative Statement on the Adoption of the Decision on the 2020 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

As prepared for delivery by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
September 11, 2020

The United States appreciates the determined effort of the Chairmanship to facilitate discussions regarding the 2020 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, as well as its flexibility and creative thinking in attempting to arrive at a solution on how the OSCE could hold this mandated event despite the uniquely challenging circumstances we face.  Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, we accept with great regret that this important event will not take place this year.

The United States would like to echo and emphasize the Chair’s statement that the HDIM will not take place “due solely to the unprecedented, exceptional and unpredictable circumstances caused by the ongoing CoViD-19 pandemic” and that this cannot and does not “establish any precedent for the organization of future Human Dimension Implementation Meetings.”

As we have underscored on numerous occasions, the United States believes respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in international instruments and our OSCE commitments is essential to lasting security in our region.   The United States remains deeply committed to defending and advancing the OSCE’s Human Dimension.  We resolve to work with fellow participating States, the Chairmanship, OSCE institutions, and in partnership with civil society to ensure international attention remains focused on human dimension concerns.  Our vigilance will be especially important given the challenging pandemic conditions.

In the absence of a 2020 HDIM, the United States supports creating and/or seizing other opportunities within the OSCE to spotlight human dimension issues, including by holding other meetings, to the maximum extent possible with provision for virtual civil society participation.  However, we underscore that any such activities, with or without NGO participation, are not substitutes for the HDIM.  We also intend to make maximum use of Permanent Council meetings and other scheduled events to emphasize our undiminished commitment to the Human Dimension of security and to call out actions by those who would seek to undermine it.  We welcome an open, but above all an honest, dialogue on human dimension issues, and we expect others to engage accordingly.

I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the Journal of the Day.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.