The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

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57 Member States, including United States and Canada.  (http://www.osce.org/states)

VIDEO What OSCE is?

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the result of organizational evolution of the congressional diplomacy system initiated by the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. This system, known as Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europa (CSCE), was born as a response to the need to open dialogue channels between countries belonging tto the two opposed blocks of the East and the West  on a triple ground: building relationships of mutual trust in the political and military field, the economic cooperatiion, the realization of the “Human Dimension” (respect for the human rights). The general conference in Vienna (1986-89), Parigi (1990) and Helsinki (1992) update the contents of the Final Act of 1975 and thanks to the Charter of Paris was given an impetus to the CSCE’s organizational development that found formal consecration whit the change of denomination, from “Conference” to “Organization”, in the final document of Budapest Summit (1994).

The OSCE has the historic merit of favoring the East-West thaw process, especially allowing independent formations of civil society of the two blocks to communicate with each other and spreading the principles of human rights. Following the fall of the blocks the OSCE has proved to be active in order to build democratic institutions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the conduct of monitoring functions of human rights and election observation. The OSCE’s limitation is to not be able to decide and impose its resolutions on its own.

The OSCE principles deriving from the Helsinki Final Act and its followers:

  • Sovereign equality between states and respect for sovereign rights,
  • Inviolability of borders,
  • Territorial integrity of states,
  • Non-intervention in the internal affairs of a state,
  • Cooperation between states,
  • Compliance with international law obligations
  • Prohibition of threat and use of force,
  • Peaceful resolution of disputes,
  • Respect for human rights, in particular the rights of persons belonging to national minorities,
  • Self-determination of peoples and equality between the rights.

OSCE and the trafficking in human beings

Trafficking in human beings affects all OSCE participating States, both as a threat to security and as a human rights issue. Virtually all countries in the region are countries of origin, transit or destination, or a combination of the above. OSCE addresses all issues concerning the topic: human rights and the rule of law; corruption and control crime; discrimination and inequality; economic, labor and migration policies. In 2003, the Organization established the Office of Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings to help participating States to develop and implement effective policies to fight this phenomenon. Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova is the current Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

The Alliance against trafficking in human beings is a broad international forum that includes international, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations that wants to join forces to prevent and to combat human trafficking. It helps to develop effective common strategies, it combines individual efforts and it offers innovative and coordinated approaches to the OSCE participating States and Partners, in order to strengthen and prevent the fight against trafficking in human beings. (http://www.osce.org/secretariat/107221 )

The Office of the Special Representative and Coordinator plays an important role in coordinating the OSCE’s efforts in the fight against trafficking in human beings. It assists OSCE participating States in fulfilling commitments at national level to combat trafficking in human beings. The Office ensures that the efforts are not duplicated and that these are complementary and coherent. The Office assists governments in anti-trafficking efforts. It works directly with them, motivating them in the intensification of their anti-trafficking activities and providing them with technical advice to support policies. This includes the development of national strategies that ensure both efficient internal coordination and international cooperation.

In accordance with its mandate, the Special Representative encourages the governments of the participating States to put the fight against all forms of human trafficking as their first point on their political agenda. He visits countries in order to establish a direct and constructive dialogue with the participating States on anti-trafficking policy. During the visits the Special Representative holds consultations with governmental authorities, parliamentarians and representatives of the judiciary and NGOs on issues of trafficking in human beings. The purpose of these consultations is to share knowledge and best practices. After each visit, the Special Representative writes a Report, emphasizing the promising practices of the country, as well as the challenges discussed and areas where anti-trafficking policy could be improved. The report contains few concrete and targeted recommendations to support the country in improving the implementation of OSCE commitments to combat trafficking in human beings. The Special Representative increases awareness about new trends in human trafficking and suggests ways to increase awareness of the phenomenon. The need for a human rights approach to action against trafficking is also emphasized

OSCE main documents:

  • OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Permanent Council Decision n. 557 (July 2005) http://www.osce.org/pc/15944,
  • AAddendum to the OSCE’s Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: addressing the specific needs for the protection and assistance of child victims of trafficking, Permanent Council Decision n. 685 (July 2005) http://www.osce.org/pc/15932,
  • Summary of the High-Level Conference on Trafficking in Human Beings (June 2006) http://www.osce.org/cthb/19539,
  • Decision n. 8/07 on the fight against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labor exploitation (November 2007) http://www.osce.org/mc/29464 ,
  • RReport of Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, following her visit to Italy on 17-18 June 2013 and on 15-19 July 2013, http://www.osce.org/secretariat/121240
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