Olya Melen-Zabramna participates in OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on the Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Times of Crisis, taking place on 16-17 May in Vienna in Hofburg Palace.
In session dedicated to the role of national and local institutions as guardians of democracy in times of crisis.
Three keynote speakers were talking about the work of parliaments in times of crisis, mainly during COVID19 pandemic, also in war time.
Ms Margareta Cederfelt, President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, talked about the role of national and local institutions as guardians of democracy in times of crisis, namely COVID19 pandemic. She also mentioned the war in Ukraine as a threat to European security and democracy. Another crisis, that is urgent and have to de addressed is a climate change problem. Thus, the role of Parliaments – to continue working effectively on crisis issues.
Andy Williamson from Inter-Parliamentary Union talked about the digitalization of the work of parliaments as the response to COVID crisis, and change of the culture of work of parliaments. Parliaments have to rely on digitalization, but the issue of security of the work of parliament, voting process has to be addressed. Ukrainian parliament responded well to the war crisis and seems to be able to operate and take necessary decision quite quickly. Thus, in modern times parliaments have to be resilient, which means switching to digital mode, be modern, and eager to share their experience.
The last speaker was the Mayor of Trostyanets (Ukraine), Bova Yuriy, which was elected 6 times in row as mayor. His achievements in pre-war time were astonishing: he run many projects, actively involved local public in decision-making. Consultations and discussions with community members were taking place all the time to formulate priority areas of work for the municipality. So public participation was crucial in the development of city, it helped to transform Trostyanets into a modern city. Since the first days of the war, the city was occupied and stayed
31 days in occupation. This created lots of challenges for the local authorities: how to communicate with population with absence of TV and internet, cell phones, how to feed people and provide them medical help, how to evacuate people and conduct burial services. During occupation, there was no electricity and no water supply, sewage system was not working. New hospital with patients and staff was hit 36 hits times by Russian army. Thus now, when the city is free and de-occupied, the assistance of other municipalities and countries is very important. Russian army devastated their municipality building and took all the computers away. He received humanitarian aid and support from many countries and cities, including ambulance cars, computers and many other needed things.
He believes that Putin initiated was against democracy and thus the world need to change their attitude towards putin and Russia.
Ukrainian Ombudsman, Ms.Denisova made a heartbraking list of all the human rights violations of Russian army which made a genocide against Ukrainian people. Russia violated international norms, including art. 49 of the Geneva convention prohibiting forcible deportation. Russia finances and support terrorism, thus it has to be held accountable.
Few comments from the floor were mentioning the climate change as the permanent crisis that need to be managed by governments and with close involvement of the CSOs as drivers to changes. Democratic principles and institutions should not be limited in times of crisis, such as COVID19, war and other.
Representative of russia federation (the only one present in the room) complained about the obstacles created by organizers which resulted in the blocking of participation of 6 representatives from Russia in this meeting. He claimed that the rights of refuges are not violated in Russia, but there are many violations of human rights in Ukraine (cases of illegal arrest of Medvedchyk, public convictions and punishments of “marodery”). He accused Poland in bias towards Russia which prevented more numerous participation of Russian representatives.
Representative of EU condemned Russian aggression, conduct of referenda on temporarily occupied territories, condemned annexion of Crimea, Russian support of DNR and LNR. EU clearly confirms the violation of international humanitarian law by Russian federation. EU declares unacceptable numerous facts of deportations to Russia of Ukrainian people, condemns threats to local leaders and members of local authorities, supports parliament of Ukraine and its work in such hard times.
You can watch the recorded meeting here: https://www.osce.org/odihr/shdm_2_2022
On 17th May, 2022 Olya will participate in side-event “Five human rights issues during Russia’s aggression against Ukraine: the position of the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative”, organized by the Center for Civil Liberties at 13:15 (Austrian time). Olya will talk about the environmental harm and human rights violation during war in Ukraine and the possible international avenues that could be addressed by Ukraine for making Russia accountable.
The event will be streamed online at https://fb.me/e/2fatuCc7B.
To be continued.