Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (15 September) prior to her departure for the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw:
Unfortunately, human rights are coming under increasing pressure in the OSCE region. The role of the OSCE annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, the largest human rights conference in Europe, is therefore all the more important.
Security and stability go hand in hand with respect for human rights. They are not mutually exclusive, as some countries would have us believe. Human rights therefore have a prominent place on the OSCE’s agenda. Where other countries want to downplay the human dimension of the OSCE, we will work to counter it. Here, the active participation of civil society is a particularly crucial factor – an active and critical civil society is one of the pillars of vibrant and functioning democracies. At this year’s conference in Warsaw, we intend to focus on the protection and safety of journalists, the problem of hate crime and the preservation of the rights of Roma and Sinti, in dialogue with representatives of civil society and others.
I also plan to meet representatives of Polish non-governmental organisations and the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss the problems confronting civil society, its scope for action and challenges in connection with the ongoing judicial reforms.
Germany is the second largest contributor to the work of the OSCE. The third, human dimension of the OSCE is one of the integral components of the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), created in 1990 by the Charter of Paris, is the OSCE’s central institution in connection with the human dimension. The annual highlight is the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) organised by the ODIHR. It is the largest human rights conference in Europe, attended by approximately 1500 participants.