Isabel-SantosCOPENHAGEN, 10 December 2013 – On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly, Isabel Santos (Portugal), the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, issued the following statement:

"This year, 10 December is not only the United Nations' Human Rights Day, but also the 65th anniversary of a document that has helped to set the moral compass of the modern world – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The vision and courage displayed by Eleanor Roosevelt and others who drafted and supported the Declaration should be remembered and celebrated today.

"But the Universal Declaration is hardly a thing of the past. As chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, I see how vital this document is today – not least because of the sad fact that its principles are often challenged.

"And so, I believe the most fitting way to mark this anniversary is to call on OSCE participating states to recall and renew their commitments to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of their citizens. These rights are enshrined not only in the Universal Declaration, but in OSCE founding documents and Parliamentary Assembly resolutions. Let us keep the human dimension of the OSCE PA a priority and never shy from taking action in defense of the rights of all."

Spencer Oliver, the Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, said:

"On this important anniversary, I echo Isabel Santos's call for renewed dedication on the part of our participating states to translate commitments into action in the human rights sphere. We all have a responsibility to live up to the values enshrined in both UN and OSCE PA rights commitments – a responsibility that must never recede into the background. Our parliamentarians' work in monitoring the rights landscape in our region will remain vital in helping us to identify challenges and make improvements."