Speaking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Kyiv today the Minister for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, reaffirmed the UK government’s strong support for the OSCE, and the organisation’s comprehensive approach to security, stability and conflict prevention, underpinned by a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Mr Lidington encouraged all participating States to renew efforts to make progress on protracted conflicts. He noted that the OSCE has shown that when its members act together they can advance the interests of all their citizens. The OSCE can also make a positive contribution to international efforts to curb transnational threats. He urged all members to do more to promote the principles of democracy and tolerance by building, strengthening and protecting democratic institutions and ensuring full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Mr Lidington also stressed that the UK expected Ukraine, as Chairman in Office of the OSCE, to uphold OSCE values and respect the rights of the citizens of Ukraine to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and expression. In light of ongoing demonstrations in Kyiv, Mr Lidington said that he was very concerned to hear reports of violence being used to break up a peaceful demonstration and welcomed the Ukrainian authorities’ commitment to a thorough investigation. He said it was of the utmost importance that the investigation was, and was seen to be, both rigorous and fair. He spoke of his particular concern to hear reports of so many practising journalists sustaining injuries inflicted by law enforcement officers. The Minister said it was essential that all parties remain calm and avoid actions that could cause the situation to escalate or restrict personal freedoms. He noted that the eyes of the world were on Ukraine, and would continue to be so after the close of the OSCE Ministerial.
Read David Lidington’s full intervention at today’s OSCE Ministerial Council
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