SI Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, 23-24 July 2012
Gathered in Chişinău on 23-24 July 2012, the Socialist International Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea discussed the economic outlook in the region, strengthening democracy and dialogue and negotiations in pursuit of conflict resolution. Drawing on the experiences of its member parties and guests from the region, and in light of the unequal and difficult progress made on democracy and conflict resolution, the committee agreed the following:
The incarceration of Mikalai Statkevich, presidential candidate in the 2010 Belarusian presidential election, continues. Gross violations of human rights take place on a daily basis, including the torture of political prisoners and persecution of any opponent of the regime expressing their views. The period since the 2010 elections has seen Belarus further entrench its status as a dictatorial, authoritarian regime. Economic and political sanctions against the regime must continue, but more needs to be done to increase the pressure on the authorities to an extent that positive change can be achieved. This means no less than the unconditional release Mikalai Statkevich and all the other political prisoners in Belarus, and an end to the daily repression of opposition politicians and activists.
In Ukraine, recent actions taken by the president and authorities have severely curtailed democratic freedoms. Leaders of opposition parties have been persecuted for political reasons, and the practice of instrumentalising state institutions for political revenge and imposing selective justice has been introduced. An end must be brought to this descent into authoritarianism, with respect for the principle that political disputes must be settled through democratic means at the ballot box and in parliament, without resorting to politically motivated prosecutions and manipulated judgements in the criminal courts. Political prisoners, including former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, should be released in advance of the elections in autumn 2012 to allow for an open, competitive campaign.
Parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2012 in Georgia are of crucial importance for democratic development, in order to prepare the ground for a first transfer of power by democratic means since independence at the presidential elections of 2013, when the incumbent president will end his term in office. In this context, it is vital to bring an end to constraints on the political process and create fair and competitive conditions for political competition. Georgia requires freedom of the media, an end to the use of administrative resources to benefit the incumbent and to refrain from repression against opposition parties and activists.
Based on the SI statement unanimously adopted by the 2010 November SI Council in Paris on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Committee expressed its concern regarding the recent announcements by Azerbaijan that it will not pull out its snipers from the line of contact with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and continuing threats against the resumption of Karabakh-Armenia civilian flights, contrary to assurances given to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. The SI will continue to build contacts and establish dialogue with like-minded political interlocutors in Azerbaijan to further pursue its work with actors from both parties to the conflict in the search for a peaceful, negotiated settlement.
Participants positively assessed the fact that the international community has gradually come to accept that living in a non-recognised state does not deprive the citizens of that entity from their basic human rights and freedoms, as well as from internationally accepted civil and political rights, including the right ‘to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives’, as established in article 25a of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI). It is in this context that recent elections in Nagorno-Karabakh should be viewed.
The committee extends its gratitude to the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) for its hosting of the meeting, and recognises its contribution to the political life and development of the Republic of Moldova, firmly establishing social democracy and consolidating the advance of multi-party democracy in the country. Concerning the situation in Transnistria, the committee supports the initiatives taken by the DPM and its partners in the government of Moldova to take incremental steps to establish the conditions for a lasting solution.
The Committee reiterates the positive role played by the Socialist International during the inter-Congress period in bringing together social-democratic parties from across the region, to formulate common policies and advance the shared aims of our movement. Our organisation will remain committed to the universal values of democracy, peace and human rights in the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea as in other parts of the world, and will continue to pursue this agenda in the future.