Response to the Chairpersons of the Security Committee; the Economic and Environmental Committee, and the Human Dimension Committee

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
October 18, 2012

We welcome to the Permanent Council today the three committee chairs.  Gentlemen, you have detailed for us the progress you have made in your work so far this year, and highlighted for us areas where more remains to be done.  We thank you for your dedication to this organization, your leadership, and your efforts to strengthen cooperation with the OSCE’s institutions, including the Parliamentary Assembly.

We, too, would like to reflect on the progress made under your leadership during the year in each of these three committees and recognize and re-commit to the work ahead of us.

We thank Ambassador Greminger for his leadership of this critically important committee and for focusing the work of the Human Dimension on the fundamental freedoms.  The United States continues to promote the view that the OSCE’s work in the human dimension is our top priority – one where the full implementation of commitments must be taken most seriously.  We continue to work to strengthen the OSCE’s focus on human rights and fundamental freedoms, whose exercise is essential to the success and security of our citizens, our countries, and the OSCE community in the 21st Century.  Furthermore, we continue to promote an explicit recognition among the participating States that the same human rights and fundamental freedoms apply online that apply offline.  We also want to see the OSCE collectively, and the participating States individually, take practical, concrete action to implement more effectively their Human Dimension commitments.

We look to this Organization, to the participating States, as well as to the citizens and NGOs who attend the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting each year to take every opportunity to hold all of us accountable for meeting our commitments, and we reaffirm our pledge to support robust human dimension activity.  We call upon all participating States to support a decision on freedom of expression and the media at the upcoming Dublin Ministerial that contains strong protections for the safety of journalists.  We also invite participating States that have not yet done so to sign on as a co-sponsor of the draft Declaration on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age, joining 43 of your colleagues in affirming that human rights and fundamental freedoms apply equally online and offline, consistent with OSCE commitments.

As we endeavor to strengthen our OSCE commitments on tolerance and nondiscrimination at the Dublin Ministerial Council, we rely on the leadership of the Irish Chairmanship and the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee to shepherd to fruition a productive decision on racism and xenophobia – an issue which affects all participating States – and warrants our urgent attention.  This past year, the Permanent Council and the Human Dimension Meetings have vigorously examined the implementation of our commitments and the principles of equality expressed through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1990 Copenhagen Document.  We believe the Dublin Ministerial Council presents a critical opportunity to reaffirm our determination to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people and to promote tolerance and nondiscrimination for all people.

The same values apply in the Economic and Environmental Committee, where we want to see this Organization embrace good governance and transparency, in both the economic and the environmental spheres, as core principles that make our region stronger.  We appreciate the strong leadership and diligent work of Ambassador Lozos this year to support these efforts, including chairing recent sessions on the promotion of equal opportunities for women across the OSCE area, and the examination of the importance of water management as a key aspect of international security.  We believe that the second dimension’s activities should focus on capacity-building and information-sharing opportunities, and on reinforcing our shared commitment to meeting international standards.  We call on all delegations to support an OSCE endorsement at the upcoming Dublin Ministerial of the relevant international and regional conventions and instruments such as the Open Government Partnership, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the UN Convention against Corruption.  Markets and economies work best, and increase the welfare of their citizens most effectively, when all the actors involved are playing by the same rules and the same information.

In the Security Committee, we want to strengthen the collective commitment among participating States to cooperate in combating transnational threats that pose risks to all of us, large and small States alike.  We commend Ambassador Ildem’s determined and effective leadership in bringing forward comprehensive and practical decisions on cyber security, narcotics, and police.  We also note that there is broad agreement among participating States on the remaining decision on counter-terrorism, and we do not wish to see any participating State hold up forward progress on that decision.  During the year, we have appreciated the opportunity to help move forward work in the area of cyber-security.  We are again pleased with progress that was made in this week’s capital-level experts meeting of the Informal Working Group Established by PC Decision 1039, and we are certain that all delegations will continue to make useful contributions to the next capital-level meeting on November 13.  We look forward to seeing the good work of the Security Committee during the year reflected in the decisions of the Ministerial in Dublin in December.

Mr. Chairman, the presentations today highlight the wide range of important work that the OSCE and its institutions are carrying out across all three dimensions.  They also underscore the challenges we face in ensuring that the OSCE lives up to its full potential in promoting comprehensive security throughout the region.  That goal will remain out of reach as long as participating States fail to implement – or attempt to weaken – existing commitments, and as long as the adoption of new commitments that would strengthen OSCE’s capacity to act are blocked for reasons wholly unrelated to their substance.

I take this opportunity to encourage all delegations to reflect on the work achieved and the work ahead of us in each of these committees as we move forward to the Ministerial Council in December.  I would like to reiterate the United States’ support for the Committee Chairs, and our commitment to the OSCE and the platform it offers all delegations to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and, in doing so, to contribute to our shared security.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.