OSCE Parliamentary Assembly condemns invasion of Ukraine & urges nuclear risk reduction

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopts the Birmingham Declaration at its Annual Session on July 6.

The Declaration condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supports legal measures in response, and urges the adoption of no-first-use policies and other nuclear risk reduction and disarmament measures.

Photo: UK Parliament


On July 6, 2022, at the conclusion of its 2022 Annual Session, the OSCE Parliamentary, adopted the Birmingham Declaration in which it condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supports the legal measures that are being implemented in response, calls for nuclear restraint including the adoption of no-first-use policies by all nuclear armed and allied states, and encourages all parties in the Ukraine conflict to use conflict resolution mechanisms and negotiations to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict. 

Nuclear risks and no-first-use

The Birmingham Declaration expresses concern about the increased threat of nuclear war, condemns “the Russian Federation’s threatening nuclear rhetoric”, affirms the “Reagan-Gorbachev dictum that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” and “urges all nuclear-armed and allied states to implement this through no-first-use declarations and agreements, and by further reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security doctrines.” (This language was proposed by PNND members).

Note: For background on no-first-use declarations and agreements, please see No-first use of nuclear weapons: An exploration of unilateral. bilateral and plurilateral approaches and their security, risk reduction and disarmament implications.

Farah Karimi MP (Netherlands), OSCEPA Special Representative on Youth Engagement, and Kyriakos Hadjiyianni MP (Cyprus), OSCE Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement, two of the cosponsors of the language on nuclear risk reduction and no-first-use of nuclear weapons whoich was adopted in the Birmingham Declaration. Photo: UK Parliament

Upholding the law

The Birmingham Declaration refers to the Russian invasion as “a gross violation of the fundamentals of international law” and “a flagrant violation not only of the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity, but as an attack against the human rights and fundamental freedoms, most notably of the right to life, of the people of Ukraine.”

It expresses support for a number of mechanisms to uphold the law and to hold Russia to account for the illegal invasion. These include the work of the independent international commission of inquiry on Ukraine mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, the ongoing proceedings at the International Criminal Court which is conducting an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine, and the International Court of Justice case initiated by Ukraine to address Russia’s allegations of acts of genocide by Ukraine  – allegations that President Putin used as a pretext for the invasion.

OSCE and conflict resolution

The Birmingham Declaration reiterates the role of the OSCE “as an effective all-inclusive platform where through the facilitation of diplomatic efforts and co-operation, participating States can rebuild basic trust and confidence” and “urges all sides to engage in negotiations aimed at a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”

Noting that the war is creating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, as well as regionally and globally, with negative impacts on food security, energy, climate and human displacement (refugees), the Assembly “encourages the intensification of result-oriented mediation efforts and negotiations in the framework of the existing platforms for conflict resolution.”

PNND Members Lord Alfred Dubs (UK) and Dr Hedy Fry (Canada) at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Dr Fry also serves as OSCEPA Special Representative on Gender Issues. Photos: UK Parliament

Nuclear disarmament

With the 10th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty coming up next month at the United Nations in New York, the Birmingham Declaration "calls on all States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to recommit to the treaty’s Article VI on nuclear disarmament, with the ultimate goal being a security environment that allows for a world without nuclear weapons."  The Declaration also encourages OSCE participating states to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

These approaches to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world are explored in more detail in NWC Reset: Frameworks for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, a civil society working paper submitted for the NPT Review Conference.

PNND will be participating in the NPT Review Conference along with other civil society organizations. See Ukraine war and nuclear threats continue as PNND prepares for NPT Review Conference