It is a pleasure to join previous speakers in welcoming the presentation by Foreign Minister Hasler.
I am pleased to see that Liechtenstein has decided to have our common values and support for a rules-based international order as a starting point for its Council of Europe Presidency. This fits well with the main challenge we are facing today, Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The Russian aggression is a blatant disregard of these values and of international law. Let me reiterate that Norway demands Russia to halt fighting, immediately withdraw its troops from within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, and stop causing further death, suffering and destruction.
Norway will continue to support and promote further cooperation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We must continue to cooperate in our mandated areas and keep each other informed of activities in all areas, to ensure maximum results of the work of both organizations.
Let me highlight three issues in particular:
Firstly, the European Court of Human rights is a powerful institution that has great influence throughout our region. This serves as a backdrop for the work of the OSCE and its institutions. We urge all relevant states to adhere to the Court’s judgement and decisions.
The OSCE and the Council of Europe should cooperate in the work for holding Russia accountable for the crimes in Ukraine. There can be no impunity for the massive violations of international law we have been witnessing. All individuals responsible for violations and abuses of human rights must be brought to justice.
Documentation of crimes is key for legal processes. OSCE tools such as the Moscow mechanism has been particularly useful.
In particular, last year’s report on deportation of children from Russian occupied territories contributed to document and raise awareness of an important issue. We believe there is a potential for new reports on other specific topics.
I am pleased to note the recent establishment of the Register of Damage Caused by the Russian Federation Aggression against Ukraine, as decided at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik last year. The Register will serve as a record of evidence for loss or injury caused since 24 February 2022.
Secondly, the more specific priorities of Liechtenstein for the Council of Europe correspond well with important areas of work in the OSCE and with Norwegian priorities, including safety of journalists, youth and education, trafficking, and violence against women.
As both organizations are working on the same issues, information sharing about planned activities, and a good division of labor will be important for maximum effects of our efforts. In these areas of work, the two organizations may overlap, but the competence and mandates are different and valuable.
Thirdly, I am pleased to note the informal but important role both the OSCE, and the Council of Europe have in preparing in their work for European integration. This may mean promoting and strengthening human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. As members of the Agreement on the European Economic Area we cooperate closely with the EU together with our partners Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Norway will remain true to its principles and uphold international law and OSCE and Council of Europe commitments.
We congratulate the Council of Europe with its 75th anniversary this year and wish Liechtenstein the best of luck for the remainder of its Presidency.