PRESS RELEASE | December 10, 2014
Today we celebrate UN Human Rights Day, created to mark the passage of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s theme, Human Rights 365, aptly underscores the belief that today, and indeed every day, our goal should be to spread awareness and support for human rights around the globe. In the OSCE community, human rights are an essential component of a comprehensive approach to security, and we affirm that the protection and advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms are the responsibility of all governments. It is crucial that participating States engage with civil society in a serious and continuous dialogue about human rights concerns.
Regrettably, within the OSCE region, there are serious challenges to human rights, including but not limited to:
- the persecution of those seeking peacefully to exercise human rights and fundamental freedoms,
- rising intolerance and xenophobic scapegoating of minority groups such as labor migrants in times of economic downturn,
- attacks against journalists who expose corruption and other abuses of power,
- serious impediments to individuals’ ability to receive information of all kinds, online and offline, and
- closing space for civil society.
Comprehensive security is the backbone of the OSCE and in the 40 years since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act that approach has never been more important. Though some governments do a better job than others at upholding their human rights obligations, every government—including my own—can improve. We call on all participating States to adhere to their Human Rights commitments today, and every day – 365 days a year.