The Special Monitoring Mission found 'significant' ceasefire violations in the Donestsk and Luhansk sectors on July 30. Two of their vehicles were fired on that day, and observed armed combat vehicles in the security zone. They were restricted by those in control from entering certain areas. Explosions, rocket salvos, heavy machine gun fire, mortar impacts, automtic grenade launcher fire, tracer fire, and many other kinds of eplosions and armed fire were heard as coming from several different locations. Their UAV aircraft was fired pon by the Ukrainian military.
Craters, debris, shrapnet damage to fences and a gas pipeline, damage to walls near an occupied house and garden, damage to houses, wals, roofs and windows an electric utlity pole, ..
The SMM also observed an ambulance taking a wounded man to a hospital, tanks military vehicles, a rocket launch system, a communication jamming system,numerous kinds of armed military machinery and vehicles
The SMM also monitored border areas, crossing points, and observed many times of vehicles having both Ukrainian and Russian plates.
The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine, but usually, is not the case. Violations occur frequently. The SMM records each instance.
The OSCE SMM continues to find violations in the government areas, the DPR, and LPR controlled areas. These violate the ceasefire and other sections of the Minsk II agreement. On a recent tour of monitored areas, they noted anti-tank guided missiles, armoured personnel carriers, multiple-launch rocket systems, self-propelled howitzers, towed howitzers, surface-to-air missile systems, armoured infantry fighting vehicles, and long-range unmanned aerial vehicles.
On a visit to a hospital, they were told that a man had been treated for a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Snipers were reported in the area, and the man said he had been out walking.
SMM also noted mined areas that are being marked and that people were working on demining. SMM said their movement was impaired because of security hazards, threats, mines, and unexploded ordnance.
Access to DPR and LPR controlled locations was denied to them by armed men. Police in certain locations refused to allow OSCE to enter certain areas, and said they need a letter from now on and would not accept OSCE identification. All this is a violation of the agreement. -------------------------------------------------------------------
41 Russian trucks labeled humanitarian aide entered at the Donetsk Border crossing point. 2 were not labeled. Russian, monitors, Ukrainian border guards, and custom officials checked the trucks. About 7 hours later, they returned. Those who keep records said this is that 50 or 51 Russian convoys were allowed to enter and return thru the border.
---------------------------------------------------------- APRIL 22, 2016
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said the Ukraine new laws could have an adverse affect on freedome on freedom of information. President Petro Poroshenko signed amendments which "tighten restrictions on the distribution and broadcast of certain audio-visual materials allowing a blanket ban of all Russian films produced or released since the beginning of 2014."
Azerbaijan allowed two human rights defenders, Leyla and Arif Yunus to leave the country to be with their daughter in the Netherlands and receive treatment for serious medical ailments. =======================================================
Germany started a criminal investigation to prosecute a satirist who allegedly derided the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Jan Böhmermann is the person that the President of Turkey claims insulted him in a poem broadcast on 31 March by the German television station ZDF. Erdogan requested that Germany take prosecutorial action. OSCE wants certain actions decriminalized as they interfere with freedom of expression.
======================================================== OSCE SAYS RUSSIAN ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA IS ILLEGAL
March 18, 2016 Berlin
Special Representative of the German Government for the OSCE Chairmanship Gernot Erler said that Russia’s annexation of the Crimea runs contrary to international law and also violates OSCE principles, especially with regard to borders and sovereignty, since Crimea is a part of the Ukraine.
Russian action also negatively affects the security and stability in the area. Erler said, "Our demands that Ukraine’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity be restored thus remain unchanged. Human rights and fundamental freedoms, the protection of national minorities and the independence of the organisations representing their interests must continue to be guaranteed throughout the entire territory of Ukraine".
Erler pointed out that the Minsk agreements implementation remains "...the most urgent step towards achieving a lasting solution to the conflict in and around Ukraine. .... I call on Russia in particular to fulfil its corresponding obligations and to respect international law”.
Explosion, firearms fire and sounds of war continue to be heard and observed in the eastern Ukraine, even though a ceasefire is supposed to be in effect.
The OSCE/SMM has observed the ceasefire violations in the Donetsk and Lkansk regions. Each day it may be more, less, or much more that the previous days. Currently, the SMM says there are reports of shelling. The helped civilians get thru the area held by Ukrainian Armed Forces and “LPR” checkpoints in Luhansk region.
The SMM counted and recorded total 492 undetermined explosions, 31 bursts of small-arms fire, 20 outgoing rounds of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), two airbursts, five bursts of heavy-machine-gun and three single shots of small-arms fire at varied places withing their monitoring areas. They also heard artillery fire, grenade like explosions, shelling, and saw craters, water tanks that were hit and their contents pouring from them.
In the eastern part of “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk), on the outskirts of “DPR” controlled Horlivka, the SMM analysed six fresh craters, assessed as caused by 152mm artillery rounds fired from east and north-east. On one of the buildings the SMM observed the impact of a round fired from a westerly direction. In “DPR”-controlled areas of Zaitseve, near a building used by the “village council”, the SMM was shown six fresh craters assessed as caused by 82mm mortar rounds. Another three craters, also assessed as caused by 82mm mortar rounds, were observed in the yard and at the entrance of a severely damaged private house. All nine craters were assessed as caused by rounds fired from the west, buildings demolished or damaged, and a man, woman and child injured, and gas lines damaged.
They found weapons missing from a permanent storage area. They noted there are seven tanks in the area in violation of the ceasefire
There is still a violation related to the withdrawal of heavy equipent, and shooting and firing machines missing in other locations monitored by SMM. Surface to air missles and other hardware were found where they should not be, including armored vehicles, anti-aircraft gun, armored personnel carriers, mines and unexploded ordinance. On occasion more than 200 civilians got stranded between checkpoints. The SMM were prevented from observing at various border areas.
The situation seems worse than reported a few months ago.
CHARGES RUSSIA WITH: ILLEGAL ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA, PERSECUTION OF CRIMEANS, UNJUST IMPRISONMENT OF PATRIOTS, FAKE NEWS, BLATANT LIES, PROPAGANDIA OF INTOLERANCE, VIOLATION OF ACCORDS
September 29, 2015 New York
President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroschenko told the UN that the future of his country depends on their action and decisions, such as, whether they will take the road to peace, security and human rights, or whether they will 'plunge into the turmoil of new hybrid wars, chaos and sufferings.'
He reminded those gathered that Ukraine was one of the founding nations of the UN in 1945, and quoted their government statement at the time, "Ukraine has repeatedly been the subject of bloody invasions by aggressors that for centuries have sought to capture its territory ...".
Since then, Poroshenko noted, the Ukraine has been subject to aggression from neighboring Russia who had, at one time, promised to 'respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Ukraine.'
Poroshenko said that Russia was a guarantor of Ukraine's security under the Budapest Memorandum which provided for guarantees of security in exchange for their voluntary renunciation of nuclear armaments.
Poroshenk reminded the UN that the Ukrainian state is a permanent member of the UN Security Council which is designated by the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security.
However, in February 2014 Russia "conducted an open and unprovoked aggression against my country, having occupied and annexed the Crimea. Bluntly and brutally violating the international law and shocking the whole world community."
The Ukrainian president went on to thank the majority of delegates I am deeply grateful to the delegations of the majority who supported the UN resolution called, “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, which "condemned the Russian illegal annexation of the Crimea." But, not only did Russia did not return the Crimea, but started a military aggression into the Dombas region of Ukraine.
Poroshenko said that "Russia refuses to officially admit its direct military invasion," and he said, "there is no doubt that this is an aggressive war against my country."
Poroshenko revealed how this is done. "To mislead the world community, Russian leadership orders to takes off insignias of its military servicemen and identification marks of its military equipment, to abandon its soldiers captured on the battlefield; to cynically use mobile crematoriums to eliminate traces of its crimes in Ukrainian soil."
This conflict is not a civil war and not an internal conflict, Poroshenko asserted. "Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia in the Crimea and Donbas region constitute approximately 44 thousand square kilometers," in wbich Ukrainians by the millions, have found themselves under occupation.
Poroshenko accused Russia as wanting to "force the Ukrainian people to give up its sovereign choice to build a free, democratic, prosperous European state." And Russia does so using "rhetoric about brotherly peoples, common history, related languages and “predestined” common future."
The Ukrainian president said they are dealing with the Russian goal to return to "imperial times with spheres of influence, a desperate attempt to obtain self-affirmation at others’ expense." Furthermore, he said, "For over 20 months, Russia’s aggression against my country has been continuing through financing of terrorists and mercenaries, and supplies of arms and military equipment to the illegal armed groups in Donbas.”
The rest of his speech is as follows: “Over the last few days we have heard conciliatory statements from the Russian side in which, in particular, it called for the establishment of anti-terrorist coalition, or warned of fire danger to flirt with terrorists. Cool story, but really hardly to believe!
“How can you urge an anti-terrorist coalition – if you inspire terrorism right in front of your door? How can you talk about peace and legitimacy – if your policy is war via puppet governments? How can you speak of freedom for nations – if you punish your neighbor for his choice? How can you demand respect for all – if you don’t have respect for anyone? . . . . “Back to the situation in Donbas I have to state that here we are forced to fight proper, fully armed regular troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Heavy weaponry and military equipment are concentrated in the occupied territories in such quantities that armies of the majority of UN Member States can only dream about. These are, in particular, the state of art samples of military equipment of Russian production, which are unlikely, according to the well-known assumption of the Russian President might be purchased in an ordinary army store. Unless, of course, such a wholesale store, with free shipping, is from the Russian Federation.
“During this period, more than 8.000 Ukrainians, of whom about 6.000 civilians, died at the hands of the Russian backed terrorists and occupiers in Donbas. More than 1.5 million residents of Donbas were forced to flee their homes and became internally displaced persons moving to other safer region in Ukraine. . . . . “I would like to draw your attention that it is not for the first time that the permanent member of the UN Security Council is undermining peace and security at both regional and international levels. For over 24 years that have passed since the questionable procedure of transfer of the permanent Security Council membership of the former Soviet Union to the Russian Federation, it is not the only "hybrid" war that Russia has unleashed.
“In fact, in order to preserve its influence in neighboring countries, Russia for decades has deliberately created around itself the belt of instability. These are: Nagorny Karabakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea and Donbas. All of these are protracted conflicts, which supported by, or directly related to Russia. But the Kremlin goes further on. These days the Russian "men in green" tread on Syrian land. What or who is next?
“ . . . In every democratic country, if someone stole your property, the independent court would restore justice, in order to protect the rights, and punish the offender. However, we must recognize that in the 21st century our Organization lacks an effective instrument to bring the aggressor-country to justice, which has stolen the territory of another sovereign state.
“70 years ago the creators of the UN Charter have envisaged the mechanism of the UN Security Council sanctions to be one of the restraining tools applied in response to the breaches of peace and acts of aggression. However, they couldn’t even imagine that this tool will be needed against the Aggressor State that is a Permanent member of the UN Security Council. Since the beginning of the aggression, Russia used its veto right twice, while the UN Security Council was considering questions related to Ukraine.
“At the outset, Russia blocked a draft resolution condemning “fake referendum” on Crimea’s annexation in March 2014. The second time Russia put its shameful veto on the draft resolution on establishment of the International Tribunal to investigate and bring to justice all responsible for Malaysian MH17 plane crush.
“By imposing its disgraceful veto on this draft resolution, Russia clearly demonstrated to the whole world its defiance in establishing the truth. Not just the truth about perpetrators of this terrorist attack and arms, used to shot down that plane. What is most important is the truth about those, who organized this crime and from which country the mentioned arms have been transported. I think everyone in this Hall clearly understands real motives of Russia’s veto on MH17 Tribunal.
“Moreover, the establishment of an international peacekeeping operation which could lead to the stabilization of the situation in Ukraine and stop the bloodshed has been also blocked because of the potential threat of Russia’s veto. Abuse of the veto right, its usage as a “license to kill” is unacceptable. Collective voice of our Organization should be clear.
“Ukraine stands for the gradual limitation of the veto right with its further cancellation. Veto power should not become an act of grace and pardon for the crime, which could be used anytime and “pulled off from the sleeve” in order to avoid fair punishment.
“In this context I welcome the initiative of my French colleague President Hollande, supported by President Peña Nieto of Mexico, on the Political Declaration to restrain from the veto right among the P5 Members in case of mass atrocities. Primary attention should be given to the modernization of the UN Security Council – including enlargement of its membership and improvement of methods of its work. The membership of the UN Security Council should reflect realities of the 21st century by representing larger quantity of African, Asian and Latin American States. Additional non-permanent seat in the Council should be given to the Eastern European Group of countries – its composition doubled during the last two decades.
“Ukraine also considers improvement of peacekeeping and peace building architecture of the Organization as an important element of the UN reform. I am proud of Ukraine’s international reputation as an active and devoted contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Operations.
“Despite external challenges, we remain a reliable partner of the Organization in this noble matter. The contribution of Ukraine to the maintenance of international peace and security provides us with moral grounds to count on the same assistance from the Organization in time of vital importance of this issue for my country. The special peacekeeping mission in Donbas under the UN auspices could become a very useful instrument contributing to implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
“Ukraine is committed to follow the letter and the spirit of the Minsk deal. We demand the same approach from other signatories that have lately resorted to the language of blackmail. Otherwise, there is no alternative to sanctions, and even their strengthening. As well as there is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“Full access of OSCE monitors to all occupied territories, withdrawal of the Russian military forces, military equipment as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of full control by Ukraine over the state border with Russia must be secured.
“Freedom, peace, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity – Ukraine doesn’t demand more. However, it will not settle for less. . . . Unfortunately, not by its own free will today Ukraine is one of the areas of fight against terrorist threat. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The activity of ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and others is the global challenge. The only possible way to address it, is to unite in common and non-compromised fight against this evil. International terrorism has proved to be more flexible than the political will of nations, and today it has taken new hybrid forms. State and non-state actors have become interlinked. The struggle for one’s rights is substituted for ruthless terror.
“We are convinced that the need for the universal international instrument able to counteract this crime is not only urgent but long overdue. For this reason, the conclusion of preparatory work on the draft of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism should become one of the top priorities for this 70th Session.
“A special role in the fight against international terrorism should be given to the most reputable legal institutions - the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Making the jurisdiction of these institutions universal is a core element of overcoming the impunity of actual violators as well as their patrons - the regimes whose national policy has become the mass-production of terror.
“I strongly believe that one of the most important aspects of fighting against terrorism is keeping and sharing the memory of the victims. In this context, I propose that 70th Session of the General Assembly consider the establishment of the International Day of Commemoration of Memory of the Victims of Terrorist Acts. . . . . “It was the feeling of humiliation, disregard of people’s will and the violation of their fundamental rights that prompted Ukrainians leave their homes for protests in 2013, which was the beginning of the Revolution of Dignity. Ukraine has paid and continues to pay an extremely high price for its freedom, and the right to live in a free country – the price of human lives. This is why, the interests of every single individual, and the protection of people’s rights laid the foundation for my large-scale reform program launched a year ago. For the first time in 24 years of its independence, Ukraine adopted a National Human Rights Strategy. It took into account best international practices from the human rights perspective, including the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy.
“Russian aggression exposed the problem of securing the human rights in the Crimea and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Leading international human rights organizations are alerting about the radical deterioration of the human rights situation, which directly applies to Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea. I am referring specifically to the practice used by the occupation authorities of the Crimea to enlist forcefully into Russian citizenship, as well as to systematic persecution, arrests, abductions and killings of pro-Ukrainian residents of the peninsula, and complete elimination of independent media.
“Ukraine reaffirms its commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By all legal means, we will continue to defend the rights of the Crimean Tatars - the indigenous people of Ukraine - and the Ukrainians, who are suffering from the repressive policy of the occupation authorities in the Crimea. I believe that the problem of blatant violations of human rights in the Crimea deserves a particular consideration within the UN General Assembly. I hope that the decision to address this issue will be taken during the current session.
“I also feel obliged to mention the names of Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and many other Ukrainians, political prisoners of the Kremlin, illegally detained and sentenced. For example, Oleg Sentsov, a respected filmmaker, was sentenced to 20 years in prison only for being Ukrainian patriot.
“I call upon the UN and its Member States to launch a worldwide campaign to pressure Russian authorities to immediately release all Ukrainian citizens, which they hold hostage. We will be able to achieve our goal only if our action is global. Most of all, Ukraine needs solidarity and assistance, which is really a powerful instrument against aggression and injustice. Ukraine will win for sure because truth is on its side. But we will do it much faster if we feel support and solidarity of the whole international community.
“The ongoing hybrid war of Russia against Ukraine has demonstrated that the international community is facing another challenge, which requires consolidation of our efforts. The full-scale information war and propaganda campaign have become a particular destructive form of non-military aggression. Fake news, blatant lies spread to justify aggression, propaganda of intolerance and violence are phenomena of the same range, which undermine the principles of freedom of expression and poison human souls and minds.
“That is why the task of strengthening the role of information in the maintenance of peace and security is more important than ever. I call upon the General Assembly to strongly condemn these shameful phenomena and to discuss the ways to confront them. . . . . “As a result of the Russian aggression, Ukraine faces another challenge – the protection of the environment in Donbas. Irresponsible and criminal flooding of mines by terrorists led to the poisoning of drinking water, soil, flora and fauna of the region. The atmosphere is polluted due to explosions and shelling of sensitive industrial infrastructure. In fact, we can speak about the risk of environmental disaster. I am convinced that the issue of environment protection under the conditions of conflict needs special attention of the United Nations Environment Assembly.”
Poroshenko closed his address by remembering the environmental disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant and asked that the UN hold a special day of remembrance.
The Ukraine parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed the Resolution "On preliminary adoption of draft law on introduction of amendments into Constitution of Ukraine as to decentralization of power"
This is done to comply with the Minsk 2 agreement, which states, in part:
"Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015." "Based on the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts", questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR."
Another part of Minsk 2 states:
"The following measures are to be included in the Ukrainian law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts": "Freedom from punishment, harassment, and discrimination of persons connected with the events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" "Right of language self-determination" "Participation of local self-government in the appointment of the heads of prosecutors' offices and courts in the particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts"
"The possibility for central executive bodies to conclude agreements with relevant local authorities on economic, social, and cultural development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" "The state will provide support for the socio-economic development of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" "Assistance from central executive bodies for cross-border cooperation by particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with regions of the Russian Federation" "The freedom to create people's militia units by decision of local councils to maintain public order in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts" "The powers of local council deputies and officials, elected in early elections, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada according to this law, cannot be prematurely terminated"
The instrument that the Rada passed is called a 'draft law No. 2217a on the introduction of the decentralization amendments into the Constitution of Ukraine and it is a preliminary adoption according to the Rada website. They say that "the draft law envisions that the territory of Ukraine is divided into communities. A community is the primary unit in the system of administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine."
". . . the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine is based on the principles of unity and integrity of the state territory, decentralization of power, ubiquity and ability of local self-government, stable development of administrative and territorial units taking in account historical, economic, environmental, geographical and demographical peculiarities, ethnic and cultural traditions."
". . . the draft law envisions abolition of the institution of heads of local state administrations and withdraws local state administrations from the constitutional regulation."
"The draft law envisions the Set of measures on the implementation of the agreements reached in Minsk (Belarus) on February 12. The said Set of measures envisages that peculiarities of the local self-government in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are determined by a standalone law."
Following the vote, there were extensive protests, rioting outside, and a grenade was thrown killing a guard. A day or two later, after one of their inspections involving a hospital, the OSCE Special Monitors were told that others had died there of wounds received in the violent encounter. A suspect was apprehended. Protests are most vehement from the nationalists who want the recognized reform Ukraine government to repossess the LPR and DPR regions now occupied by the separatists.
Opponents of decentralization say it yields to Russian demands, is against the Ukraine's interest, changes Ukrainian independence, gives amnesty to the separatists, and that Ukrainians who died in the fighting on the eastern front, died in vain.
Those who support the presence and activities of Russia in the eastern front, are equally vehement about what they call the U.S. interference in Ukrainian affairs. They accuse the U.S. of promoting and supporting the take over of the government by the reform movement, as well as the military training by U.S personnel in the western sector.
Others see the resolution to decentralize as a means to end the fighting, disagreements and allow those residents their claims that they are of different ethnic history and culture than the rest of the Ukraine. Otherwise, they sense there is no other solution and these entities, such as the DPR and LPR, would continue to fight for right to self determination and encourage the Russians to cross the border to come to their assistance militarily.
The Minsk 2 agreement was negotiated by France, Germany, Russia and the Ukraine, but signed by the Swiss diplomat and OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini; the former president of Ukraine and Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma; the Russian Ambassador to Ukraine and Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov; and the DPR and LPR leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. The U. S. has endorsed Minsk 2, and encouraged the Ukraine and all parties to comply.
It is interesting to note that the current Ukraine President did not participate, but instead, Ukraine was represented by former President Kuchma who preceded Yanukovych. His government was also said to have corruption involved. The DPR and the LPR participated as well. Under Kuchma, relations with Russia were said to be on good terms.
If you google the term, Minsk 2 agreement, you will also find several criticisms of the agreement. One has to wonder and be a little curious as to why and how the current Ukraine government could want to comply with an agreement negotiated by a former President and their opponents, Russia and the separatists.
This is a complicated matter, not easy to see the delineation of sides politically, and where they are geographically and constitutionally. The activities of the U.S. are not as clear cut as one would prefer for our best foreign policy. In this situation, it is not easy to comprehend as to who the good guys are and who is at fault. On one hand, we are supporting the reformist government and praising their courage, and on the otherhand, we support Minsk 2 which is forcing them to give up the separatist sectors to those who have bombed and shelled them, as well as allegedly shot down a civilian airplane flying out of Indonesia/Malaya. For further information, see the government website: http://iportal.rada.gov.ua/en/ At this location, you will also find links to the Ukraine president's site and other Ukraine government links.
The ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE is an international security group whose charge is one that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It deals with a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism, economic and environmental activities. All 57 participating nations belong with equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.
Based in Vienna, OSCE began as a result of the Helsinki accords which started meeting in 1972.
The current OSCE Chairperson is Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. The Chair is held for one calendar year by the OSCE participating State designated as such by a decision of the Ministerial Council. The function of the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) is exercised by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of that State.
In 2015, OSCE celebrates 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act – an agreement that "paved the way for erasing dividing lines between the East and the West and contributed to the end of the Cold War." The Helsinki Final Act has "underpinned all OSCE activities up to the present day."
"In 2012, OSCE foreign ministers gathered in Dublin and decided that the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act represents a unique opportunity to reaffirm the participating States’ commitment to the concept of comprehensive, co-operative, equal and indivisible security, to reconfirm and build upon OSCE achievements across all three dimensions, and to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century."
The Dublin meeting initiated the "Helsinki +40 Process" - “an inclusive effort by all participating States to provide strong and continuous political impetus to advancing work towards a security community, and further strengthening co-operation in the OSCE on the way towards 2015”.
In 2013, this process began "under the Ukrainian Chairmanship, which established the informal Helsinki +40 Working Group at the level of permanent representatives of the OSCE participating States."
From there, the Helsinki +40 process "started with an orientation debate aimed at assessing threats and challenges in the OSCE space, the Organization’s place in the modern security architecture, and potential areas where its role could be strengthened to keep up with the security challenges of the 21st century."
The OSCE Ambassadors met in Vienna and "defined the following eight thematic areas for discussion, covering all three OSCE dimensions and cross-dimensional issues:"
"Fostering military transparency by revitalizing and modernizing conventional arms control and confidence and security building regimes; "Further enhancing OSCE capacities in addressing transnational threats; "Further strengthening OSCE capacities across the conflict cycle; "Striving for tangible progress towards the settlement of protracted conflicts in a peaceful and negotiated manner; "Enhancing the strategic orientation of the economic and environmental dimension; "Strengthening the human dimension; "Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the OSCE; "Increasing interaction with the Partners for Co-operation and with international and regional organizations.
"Eight Helsinki +40 Co-ordinators, appointed from among the OSCE Ambassadors for each of the thematic areas, will identify and promote areas of agreement on concrete proposals raised during the thematic debates within the informal Working group."
"Participants at the December 2013 OSCE Ministerial Council in Kyiv agreed on the Declaration on Furthering the Helsinki +40 Process noting the positive spirit of discussions in 2013 and reconfirming their engagement and strong commitment to further develop the process in 2014-2015 under the consecutive Swiss and Serbian OSCE Chairmanships."
On June 22, 2015, the OSCE CiO appointed Ambassador Martin Sajdik (Austria) as his new Special Representative in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org
"Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00:00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015.
Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems: for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact; for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014
The pullout of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days.
This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.
Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc.
On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law.
Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.
Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.
Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of "all for all". This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons).
Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism.
Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field).
With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.
Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfilment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group.
Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015.
Based on the Law of Ukraine "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts", questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.
Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group."
"This regulation is intended to improve the legislative part of the integrated border management European Union policy by setting out the rules on the border control of persons crossing EU external borders and on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders.
562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (see amending acts).
This regulation applies to any person crossing the external borders of all EU countries, except those of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the internal borders of the Schengen area (a border-free area comprising 22 EU countries, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
External borders may be crossed only at border crossing points and during the fixed opening hours.
When crossing an external border, EU citizens and other persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law (such as the family members of an EU citizen) undergo a minimum check. This minimum check is carried out to establish their identity on the basis of their travel documents and consists of a rapid and straightforward verification of the validity of the documents (including, where appropriate, the consultation of databases on stolen, misappropriate, lost and invalidated documents) and a check for signs of falsification or counterfeiting.
Non-EU-country nationals are subject to thorough checks. These comprise a verification of the entry conditions as described below, including verification in the visa information system (VIS), where applicable.
For stays not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period, a non EU-country national must:
possess a valid travel document; possess a valid visa, if required; justify the purpose of his/her intended stay and have sufficient means of subsistence; not have an alert issued for him/her in the Schengen information system (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry; not be considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of EU countries.
If these conditions are not met, entry to the territory is refused, unless special provisions (e.g. for humanitarian reasons) apply. Entry may only be refused by a substantiated decision stating the precise reasons for the refusal delivered by a competent national authority by means of a standard form. The person refused entry shall have the right to appeal and must receive written information on the national procedure.
The travel documents of non-EU nationals are systematically stamped upon entry and exit. If a travel document does not bear an entry stamp, it may be presumed that the holder does not fulfil, or no longer fulfils, the conditions of duration of a short stay. However, the non-EU-country national may provide any credible evidence of having respected the conditions relating to the duration of a short stay, such as transport tickets or proof of his/her presence outside the territory of the EU countries. On the request of a non-EU-country national, the insertion of an entry or exit stamp may be dispensed with if this insertion is liable to cause difficulties for the person. Instead, the stamp must be recorded on a separate sheet indicating the person’s name and passport number.
Border checks are carried out by border guards . When performing their duties, border guards must fully respect human dignity and may not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
The Schengen Borders Code allows EU countries to establish shared border crossing points with their non-EU neighbours, at which border guards from each country carry out exit and entry checks one after the other in accordance with their national law, either on the territory of the EU country concerned or on the territory of a non-EU country.
EU countries must deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to ensure a high and uniform level of control at their external borders. They must ensure that border guards are specialised and properly trained professionals.
EU countries assist each other with the effective application of border controls. Operational cooperation is coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).
Any person, irrespective of his/her nationality, may cross the internal borders at any point without checks being carried out. This does not preclude the possibility for the the national police authorities to exercise their powers, including in the internal border zones, provided that this exercise does not have an effect equivalent to border checks.
EU countries that are part of the Schengen area must remove all obstacles to fluid traffic flow at road crossing points at internal borders, in particular any speed limits not exclusively based on road-safety considerations.
Where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, these countries may exceptionally reintroduce border controls at its internal borders for a period of no more than 30 days (possible to prolong under conditions established by the code) or for the foreseeable duration of the serious threat. This action should be seen as a last resort. If such controls are to be reintroduced, the other EU countries that are part of the Schengen area and the European Commission must be notified without delay with a view to possible consultations. The European Parliament and the Council must be informed at the same time.
Consultations may take place between EU countries and the Commission at least 10 days before the planned reintroduction of border controls, in order to organise mutual cooperation and to examine the proportionality of the measures to the events giving rise to the reintroduction. The decision to reintroduce border controls at internal borders must be taken in a transparent manner and the public must be informed in full, unless there are overriding security reasons for not doing so.
Under exceptional circumstances, and where a serious threat to public policy or internal security in an EU country requires immediate action, the latter may reintroduce border controls at its internal borders immediately. The other EU countries and the Commission are then notified accordingly.
Where, in the framework of the Schengen evaluation, serious deficiencies are identified in the carrying out of external border controls by an EU country, the Commission may issue recommendations. For the EU country concerned, this may include submitting to Frontex strategic plans based on a risk assessment to deal with the situation or initiating the deployment of European border guard teams or, as alast resort, triggering the closure of a specific border crossing point."