32 Facts About OSCE


The OSCE is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation.

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The OSCE now had a formal secretariat, a Senior Council, a Parliamentary Assembly, a Conflict Prevention Centre, and an Office for Free Elections, which later became the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

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In Istanbul on 19 November 1999, the OSCE ended a two-day summit by calling for a political settlement in Chechnya and adopting a Charter for European Security.

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The point was made that while numerous violations of the voting process were registered, its criticism came only from within the United States, while the OSCE - known for its criticism of elections on the post-Soviet space - remained silent.

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OSCE said the OSCE was not helping journalists who have been attacked in Kazakhstan when she mentioned the attack on the office of the Kazakh branch of the Mir TV and radio company in Almaty, which involved some 500 perpetrators.

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On 21 March 2014, the OSCE deployed its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine at the request of Ukraine's government.

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On 27 October 2015, a suspended OSCE monitor confirmed he had been a former employee of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate.

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On 6 April 2016, photos of OSCE monitors attending the wedding of a Russian separatist emerged.

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The OSCE issued a statement expressing concern over the alleged security breach.

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The OSCE faced criticism of partisanship and double standards due to Hastings's past and the fact that the OSCE's mandate was to promote democracy and the values of civil society.

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Six official languages of the OSCE are English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian.

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Unique aspect of the OSCE is the non-binding status of its constitutive charter.

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Oldest OSCE institution is the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, established in 1991 following a decision made at the 1990 Summit of Paris.

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Almost all field operations of OSCE have been conducted in countries of former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union.

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OSCE chairmanship is assumed at yearly intervals by one participating state, which then plays the central role in managing the organization's work and in its external representation.

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Chairmanship of the OSCE is held by a member state on a calendar-year basis, with the minister for foreign affairs of that state performing the function of Chairperson-in-Office.

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OSCE considers itself a regional organization in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and is an observer in the United Nations General Assembly.

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OSCE takes a comprehensive approach to the politico-military dimension of security, which includes a number of commitments by participating States and mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution.

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The OSCE helps to stop the—often illegal—spread of such weapons and offers assistance with their destruction.

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The OSCE has implemented two additional exchanges of information, the Vienna Document and the Global Exchange of Military Information.

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OSCE was a rather small organization until selection by the international community to provide electoral organization to post war Bosnia and Herzegovina in early 1996.

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OSCE had regional offices and field offices, to include the office in Brcko in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina which remained in limbo until the Brcko Arbitration Agreement could be decided, finalized and implemented.

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OSCE essentially took the place of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in part because the Bosnian leadership felt deep contempt for the UN efforts to stop the war which began in 1991 and ended in 1995.

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OSCE continues to have a presence and a number of initiatives to bring a sustained peace to the region.

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Activities in the economic and environmental dimension include the monitoring of developments related to economic and environmental security in OSCE participating States, with the aim of alerting them to any threat of conflict; assisting States in the creation of economic and environmental policies, legislation and institutions to promote security in the OSCE region.

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OSCE has developed a range of activities in the environmental sphere aimed at addressing ecologic threats to security in its participating States.

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Commitments made by OSCE participating States in the human dimension aim to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; to abide by the rule of law; to promote the principles of democracy by building, strengthening and protecting democratic institutions; and to promote tolerance throughout the OSCE region.

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Since 2003, the OSCE has had an established mechanism for combating trafficking in human beings, as defined by Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol, which is aimed at raising public awareness of the problem and building the political will within participating states to tackle it effectively.

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However, the effectiveness of such assistance is arguable—Kazakhstan, for example, despite being the former chair of the OSCE, is considered by many to be one of the least democratic countries in the world.

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The OSCE aims to provide equal opportunities for men and women and to integrate gender equality in policies and practices.

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OSCE observes relevant media developments in its participating states with a view to addressing and providing early warning on violations of freedom of expression.

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The OSCE's approach is to identify and to seek early resolution of ethnic tensions, and to set standards for the rights of persons belonging to minority groups and High Commissioner on National Minorities has been established.

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