WARSAW, December 10, 2018 – The fundamental rights set out in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago are vital not only to the equal dignity and worth of every person, but also to achieving and maintaining peace and security, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said on today’s Human Rights Day.
“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, the promotion and protection of the rights and fundamental freedoms it enumerates are crucial not only as core duties of states to every person inside their borders, but also to preventing violence and promoting peace within and across those borders,” Gísladóttir said. “The principles of equality, justice and freedom expressed in the Declaration match the commitments that OSCE participating States have made a pillar of the Organization’s concept of security.”
The ODIHR Director raised concern about instances across the OSCE region where governments have unduly used security concerns as justification to curb human rights and fundamental freedoms, including democratic rights and the freedom from discrimination.
“We’ve seen states limit these rights and freedoms on the basis of security concerns – whether ostensibly to prevent crimes, including terrorism, or in times of internal unrest or conflicts between countries. Whether or not these concerns were genuine, time and again the result has been an increase in the security challenges that states face in these areas,” she said. “The choice between security and human rights is a false choice, as the two are inextricably linked.”
Gísladóttir highlighted that her Office provides support to governments and civil society across the OSCE region in protecting and promoting human rights, including the equal rights of men and women, while ensuring security. This work includes efforts to improve the protection of human rights in the security sector, to support women’s participation in promoting peace and security, to strengthen democratic institutions and practices, including elections, and to bolster the rule of law.
Source: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights