U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned his European counterparts about the threats posed by rising authoritarianism in Europe and around the world.

Speaking Thursday at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Hamburg, Kerry said the rising trend in authoritarian thinking is accompanied by backsliding on human rights, restrictions on independent media and a spike in acts of intolerance and hate crimes.

“Bigotry, repression and the silencing of dissent cannot be the new normal for any of us,” he said. “Every chip away at the fundamentals of freedom is actually a ugly building block in the road to tyranny.”

Kerry also said the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the Russian occupation of Crimea has persisted too long and called on the OSCE to continue efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of those issues.

He added that ending that short-term violence must not obscure the longer-term needs to Ukraine to build a flourishing democracy.

The two-day OSCE meeting includes foreign ministers from the 57 nations that make up the organization. Germany currently holds the group’s rotating chairmanship.



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