OSCE CiO Warsaw Human Dimension Conference Warsaw, 26 September – 7 October 2022

EU statement – Plenary session 6 Rule of Law I

1.Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are often misperceived as an issue of past times before the development of democratic principles and fundamental human rights. Today, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a devastating reminder of the opposite.
2.We are deeply alarmed by the credible reports, including under the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism, about the use of torture and other ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence and enforced disappearances, during Russia’s war against Ukraine. We are particularly concerned about reports of such abuses in the context of so-called filtration camps. The EU strongly condemns these violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law and stands firm that thoseresponsible will be held to account.
3.The prohibition of torture is absolute and unconditional. All OSCE participating Stateshave an obligation to prevent acts of torture, prosecute perpetrators, identify victims,and ensure effective redress. Yet, new violations continue to arise across the OSCEregion and impunity persists. While Russia’s actions in Ukraine serve as the grave strecent example, it is not the only one.
4.The EU remains deeply alarmed by the credible reports of the use of torture in Belarus,as well as by the continued enforced disappearances of many people in Turkmenistan.We call upon both parties to end this practice and ensure complete and transparent investigations.

5. The EU calls for universal abolition of the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment, contrary to the inalienable right to life enshrined in, inter alia, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It does not have a deterrent effect on crime, and it makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible. The EU is determined to continue its long-standing global campaign against the death penalty. We encourage countries to join the global trend against the death penalty and to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards full abolition.
6. We are deeply alarmed by the reports under the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism on Russia’s alleged handing over of detained persons to their proxies in the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, to be subjected to imposition of the “death penalty”. Russia cannot bypass its international obligations.
7. Furthermore, we deplore the widening by the regime in Minsk of the scope for the use of capital punishment to vaguely defined “attempted terrorist activities”. This regrettable step stands in contrast to the trend towards abolition – and its real objective is to further intensify repression against defenders of democracy.
8. The EU firmly believes that the rule of law and respect for human rights must stay at the heart of the fight against terrorism. We recommend all participating States to review counter-terrorism laws and national security related policies, online and offline, and reverse all measures that do not live up to OSCE and international commitments and obligations. We reiterate our support for the global Convention against Torture Initiative and its efforts to achieve global ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture by 2024.

The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE and REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, the EFTA countries ICELAND and LIECHTENSTEIN, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA, MONACO and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.

* Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.