Thank you, Chair. Good morning.
With the closing of the second Chair’s Warsaw Human Dimension Conference in two years, we have much to consider. I would first like to thank North Macedonian as our Chair in Office, for its determination to hold this meeting in the face of Russian obstructionism. I also express our appreciation and thanks to ODIHR Director Mecacci and his entire team for preparing and delivering this conference.
Over the past two weeks we have we heard countless examples of the most egregious human rights violations committed by Russia at home and through its illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As we have listened, we have considered the question, what more can we do to support civil society and those impacted by Putin’s war of choice.
We recall that the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting the agenda of which was blocked again by Russia this year, is one of our OSCE commitments. It was established so that participating States could hold each other to account. We have always valued the opportunity this offered. However, in addition to trampling over the most basic human dimension commitments through its actions in Ukraine, Russia chooses not to engage or to explain its behaviour.
Civil society participation has always been a high point of Human Dimension Implementation Meetings. We are grateful to those who have again told their stories this year. Your input greatly enriches our discussions. Through the thematic plenary sessions and brilliant side events, we have heard the challenges faced by the most vulnerable. We have also seen clear examples of what the Moscow Mechanism report told us last year. Namely that internal repression enables external aggression. We have heard from those and about those, including Vladimir Kara-Murza who are paying the price for challenge and dissent. Your participation and understanding these lived experiences are paramount. Thank you for being with us.
We remind those participating States that constantly seek to undermine the work and block the mandates of the OSCE’s human dimension institutions that we established these institutions together to assist us in the implementation of our commitments. Let the institutions do their work.
The UK Government is committed to continuing to support and amplify the voices from those in civil society and holding Russia to account. We will challenge and accept challenge of our own actions against the commitments we have made. We hope that all participating States will join us, so we can work together to stand united against the violence and repression that remains present across the OSCE region.