President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė forwarded a welcome address to participants of the Seimas sitting dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and to Lithuania's upcoming chairmanship of the OSCE.
The President underlined that the Final Act of the OSCE Conference signed in Helsinki in 1975 was an extraordinary event of great political significance to Europe and stood as a moral commitment by the signatory states to the principles of democracy, cooperation and respect for human rights.
"The fact that it was also signed by the Soviet Union allowed Lithuania's struggle for freedom and independence to partially step out of the underground into the official limelight. The Helsinki spirit led to the creation of Helsinki groups, which monitored and reported violations of human rights and freedoms and which consolidated the nation on the path of resistance, even in the face of a repressive regime. Helsinki groups continued to influence political developments later on as well, when the national revival movement Sąjūdis emerged in the eighties, placing the final touch in the case of Lithuanian independence," President Dalia Grybauskaitė noted in the address.
According to the President, the value of the Helsinki Final Act lies in bringing the freedom fighters of all nations together on the strong foundation of mutual understanding and support. Today, the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe, which emerged as a direct result of the Helsinki conference, continues to protect human rights and freedoms.
"It is highly symbolic that next year the OSCE will be chaired by Lithuania - a country where Helsinki groups and their work eventually led to national revival and independence. Having lived through such a dramatic and meaningful experience, Lithuania values and understands the Helsinki spirit. During its chairmanship of the OSCE, Lithuania will do everything it can to bring support to those places where human rights are violated, where people are persecuted and imprisoned for their political, religious, national and other beliefs," President Dalia Grybauskaitė stressed in the address.
Press Service of the President