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- CSTO PA advocates preserving and strengthening the moral foundations of international and regional security
Sergei Pospelov, Executive Secretary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, spoke at the 14th International Conference on International Humanitarian Law Martens Readings 2021 organized by the St Petersburg State University, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Russian Association of International Law.
In his speech he recalled that “the Second World War became a global and tragic stress test for international humanitarian law. Millions of casualties and the suffering of the people of Europe and Asia had once again led to the need to reassess the principles and norms of peaceful coexistence and the conduct of military conflicts.”
According to the CSTO PA Executive Secretary, international terrorism, as well as political, racial or religious extremism are the current biggest threats to the social and state identity. All these factors increasingly often provoke regional, local or internal armed conflicts, as well as mass illegal actions. The ideological basis of such destructive challenges, not least of all, is the illusion of criminal omnipotence and impunity.
Sergei Pospelov is convinced that in this context, the CSTO has proven to be an internationally recognized instrument for regional security and the collective defence of allied states against external aggression. Its effectiveness is confirmed by the many years of peace on external frontiers and its multifaceted approach to neutralizing common problems, including humanitarian ones.
For instance, the CSTO Collective Security Strategy, along with political and military measures to counter transnational challenges and threats, includes protecting the population and providing humanitarian assistance; reducing damage to territories and critical facilities in natural and man-made emergencies and during or after military operations. In turn, the main task of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly is to create the regulatory conditions for the functioning of the collective security system. According to its Action Plan, the Assembly develops model laws and recommendations, while the CSTO States’ parliaments implement them into national legal systems.
The CSTO PA Executive Secretary noted that against the background of NATO’s increased activity near the borders of the CSTO area of responsibility and the growing military risks in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia, the regional security issues increasingly often exceed the traditional military activities. In this regard, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly calls for concerted efforts towards preserving and strengthening the moral foundations of international and regional security.
“Today is the time to address the problem of military application of artificial intelligence, robots, space and laser weapons and the possible negative consequences of their indiscriminate and disproportionate use,” the CSTO PA Executive Secretary noted. “Moreover, the conflict situation in Eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh has once again drawn particular attention to the issue of protecting the humanitarian rights of civilians, prisoners and detainees,” Sergei Pospelov noted.
Overall, he said, the above reasons confirm the relevance of developing new legal approaches to preventing and eliminating the humanitarian consequences of military conflicts.
In this regard, the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly aims to protect humanitarian rights during military and peacekeeping operations as well as during man-made or natural crises.
The CSTO PA Executive Secretary recalled that the CSTO States have full military, material and, most importantly, legal resources for joint humanitarian operations and crisis response.
The CSTO Parliamentary Assembly has adopted more than ten model legal acts, including the model law On Humanitarian Aid, the provisions of which have been successfully implemented at the national level.
At the same time, considering the complicated geopolitical situation and its impact on national security, the resumption of a constructive dialogue on lawful settlement of humanitarian issues in the area of armed conflicts shows promise.
The 2021–2025 CSTO PA Action Plan on Approximation and Harmonization of National Legislation of the CSTO Member States and decisions of the CSTO Collective Security Council envision, in particular, strengthening inter-parliamentary cooperation in Eurasia, including through the CSTO, CIS, SCO and other regional organizations concerned. To this end, Sergei Pospelov offered to use the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly as a platform to promote legislative initiatives and projects reflecting the issues of international humanitarian law.