Condemnation of the desecration of Polish graves in Belarus

OSSE-PF Inför OSSE-PF:s sommarmöte den 30 juni-4 juli i Vancouver, hade Björn Söder författat ett förslag till en sk Supplementary Item (SI). Förslaget antogs av den parlamentariska församlingen och blev en del av slutdeklarationen från Vancouvermötet.



1. Considering the Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between OSCE
participating States in the Helsinki Final Act:
a. “the participating States will respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,
including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief”,
b. “The participating States in whose territory national minorities exist will respect the
right of persons belonging to such minorities to equality before the law, will afford
them the full opportunity for the actual enjoyment of human rights and fundamental
freedoms and will, in this manner, protect their legitimate interests in this sphere”,

2. Underscoring the 2014 Baku Declaration’s Resolution on Protection of Cultural Property
in the OSCE Area, in which the OSCE PA:
a. “mindful that cultural heritage is an important component of the cultural identity of
communities, groups and individuals and of social cohesion, and its intentional
destruction may therefore have adverse consequences for human dignity and human
b. “emphasizes the importance of preserving the status of monuments and sites related
to history and culture, wherever they are located, which constitutes an integral part
of the overall efforts within the CSCE for the preservation and protection of the
common cultural heritage (paragraph 31 of 1991 Document of the Cracow
Symposium on the Cultural Heritage of the CSCE Participating States)”,

3. Emphasizing the Kyiv Ministerial Council decision 3/13 on freedom of thought,
conscience, religion or belief, which calls on OSCE participating States “to adopt policies
to promote respect and protection for places of worship and religious sites, religious
monuments, cemeteries, and shrines against vandalism and destruction”,

4. Acknowledging that the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property
in the Event of Armed Conflict provides that “damage to cultural property, belonging to
any peoplewhatsoever, means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each
people makes its contribution to the culture of the world”,

5. Reiterating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
a. “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to
realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance
with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural
rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality”,
b. “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to
enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”,

6. Aware that cultural sites, such as graves and monuments, are of great importance to the
identity of peoples, groups and communities as well as their social cohesion,

7. Noting that the increase in destruction and desecration of cultural sites such as graves
often serves as a tool to serve political goals in areas where peoples with ties to the sites
are unable to venture,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

8. Emphasizes the urgent need to protect Polish graves in Belarus from further desecration
and vandalism, as well as to prevent future desecration of a similar nature;

9. Stresses the importance of these graves for Polish peoples and their cultural identity, but
also for the world as a reminder of the horrors of war and genocide;

10. Understands that intentional destruction of cultural sites may amount to acts of racial,
religious or cultural hatred and may cause degradation of relations between cultural
groups, as well as violation of the fundamental principles of human rights law;

11. Reaffirms its commitment to the Resolution on Protection of Cultural Property in the
OSCE Area;

12. Requests that the desecration of these graves stops immediately and that Belarusian
authorities condemn these acts, restore all destroyed sites, as well as investigate the

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