President of the United States of America Barack Obama proclaimed December 3, 2015 as Helsinki Human Rights Day.
Four decades ago, the leaders of the United States, Canada, the Soviet Union, and countries from across a divided Europe came together to sign the Helsinki Final Act, a document reflecting the conviction that the security of states is inextricably linked to the security of their citizens' rights. This comprehensive security concept is forever enshrined in the Act and is mirrored in the subsequent statements and commitments made by the members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Today, the Act continues to shine as a beacon for all who reach, often at great risk to themselves, for human dignity, for justice and tolerance, and for democratic ideals. Including the notions that power is derived from the consent of the governed and that human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all of us. No matter where we live or where we come from. On Helsinki Human Rights Day, we pledge our cooperation and mutual respect as we work to fulfill the commitments made in the Helsinki Final Act.
The Helsinki Final Act inspires our vision for democracy, human rights, and human dignity. It inspires a vision for open economies and shared prosperity, and a world in which states resolve disputes peacefully and work together to build and maintain trust. Together, we can faithfully implement our shared Helsinki commitments and help forge an ever better future for all.