Respect for Human Rights must be central in response to security challenges: OSCE

OSCE/ODIHR Director Michael Georg Link, speaking at the opening of the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, in Warsaw, 21 September 2015

WARSAW, – OSCE participating States must make sure that human rights are an integral and central part of their responses to the profound security challenges they are facing today, Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said on the occasion of today’s international Human Rights Day.

“A human-rights-centered approach is the best insurance for long-term security,” Director Link said. “Without human rights protection as a cornerstone, efforts to address challenges such as terrorist threats, the ever mounting numbers of refugees seeking shelter from war or persecution, the crisis in and around Ukraine, and many more, are unlikely to achieve their aims.”

From the signing 40 years ago of the Helsinki Final Act, OSCE participating States have repeatedly reaffirmed that the protection and equal enjoyment of human rights are critical requirements for international peace and security. Failures to respect and protect human rights are often triggers for national or regional instability, military conflicts, political disputes and acute refugee crises. States have affirmed that safeguarding human rights and the rule of law is an essential starting point for any sustainable solution to unresolved conflicts.

“ODIHR will continue to assist OSCE participating States in making human rights a priority when developing responses to security challenges,” said Link. “At its core, the human dimension of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security constantly reminds us that universal human rights are an integral part of security. Therefore, security measures need to be designed in respect of human dimension commitments, and emergency measures limiting fundamental freedoms need to be of a temporary nature. Failing to guarantee human rights when reacting to imminent security threats can endanger the very security participating States seek to ensure.”