Director Mecacci, Ambassadors, distinguished colleagues, fellow participants;
Many thanks to OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Poland, as host country, and the Swedish Chairpersonship for organising this important event.
The UK offers its congratulations to ODIHR on its many achievements over the last thirty years. Your work to strengthen democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights across the OSCE region has made a tangible, positive difference to many.
We are grateful for ODIHR’s role in creating a platform for civil society to engage with participating States. The valuable contribution by civil society in this conference has itself highlighted the benefits of that engagement. Thank you for the focus on inclusive political participation. The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which all citizens can live freely, without fear of violence or discrimination, and where all citizens, including women and girls, people with disabilities, and LGBT+ people, can participate fully and actively in society.
Over the last two days, we have discussed not only ODIHR’s successes but also the continuing challenges that we face. Although ODIHR came about to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe, as members of this valued institution, we must all strive to meet the common standards and democratic principles we have signed up to. As we look forward to the years ahead, the UK offers its full support for ODIHR’s work in continuing to assist all participating States to honour our OSCE commitments.
Finally, as this conference draws to a close, the UK wishes to pay tribute to, and thank, the staff of ODIHR, past and present, for their tireless work in helping provide lasting benefits to us all.