WARSAW, 24 September 2012 – Governments have to respect universal values of democracy and human rights in practice for there to be any stable system of security, speakers said at the opening of this year’s OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw today.
“Not every country in the Euro-Atlantic region shares the universal values of political pluralism, free market, the rule of law, media freedom and respect for human rights,” Adam Rotfeld, the former Foreign Minister of Poland, said in his keynote address. “Even if accepted in a declaratory way, they are rejected in political practice.”
“If common values – aside from common interests – fail to be respected, the security community will simply be a façade,” Rotfeld added.
Some 1,000 government representatives, experts and human rights activists are attending the two-week meeting, which reviews the progress states have made in putting their international commitments into practice.
Douglas Wake, the First Deputy Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said that exploring challenges to and good practices in the promotion of these values would be an important part of the event.
“The tradition of reviewing human dimension implementation thus builds on an important truth that underlies the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security,” Wake said. “There can only be true security and stability in relations between states when governments and leaders keep the promises they have made – to their citizens and to each other – in the fields of human rights and democracy.”
Frank Cogan, the Head of the Irish OSCE Chairmanship Taskforce, said: ”It is my sincere hope that participating States, civil society, regional and international organizations and other participants will take full advantage of the two-week period ahead to exchange views and deepen mutual understanding.”
In addition to regular working sessions, more than 50 side events will focus on specific human rights concerns and country situations. Special sessions at the event will focus on the empowerment of Roma women; freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; and the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.