“10 December is a key date for human rights. On this day 70 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly, meeting in Paris, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 70 years on, I am pleased, in my capacity as Chair of the Committee of Ministers, to celebrate this anniversary.
The principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid the foundations for the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights worldwide. The swift action of the Council of Europe has given these principles concrete legal backing, with the European Convention on Human Rights adopted in 1950, and the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights some years later.
In the course of its history, the Council of Europe has constructed and continues to develop a close-knit network of human rights mechanisms and standards, aiming at covering all the areas where human rights are challenged by existing and emerging threats. The Council’s work of standard-setting continues at the present day. During its Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, Finland will continue working tirelessly with the member States and all other partners, including with civil society, to reinforce and advance the safeguarding of human rights on our continent.
European countries have long been at the forefront in defending human rights but, today, these rights and liberties that we may have taken for granted are challenged. The promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights, which make up the Council of Europe's fundamental values, are our collective responsibility and more necessary than ever.”