The OSCE has a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. All 57 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) provides support, assistance and expertise to participating States and civil society to promote democracy, rule of law, human rights and tolerance and non-discrimination. ODIHR observes elections, reviews legislation and advises governments on how to develop and sustain democratic institutions. The Office conducts training programmes for government and law-enforcement officials and non-governmental organizations on how to uphold, promote and monitor human rights.

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Ul. Miodowa 10
00-251 Warsaw
Office: +48 22 520 06 00
Fax: +48 22 520 06 05


The High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) gets involved in a situation if, in her judgement, there are tensions involving national minorities which could develop into a conflict. Much of the day-to-day work is in identifying and addressing causes of ethnic tensions and conflicts. The High Commissioner addresses the short-term triggers of inter-ethnic tension or conflict and long-term structural concerns.

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Prinsessegracht 22
2514 AP The Hague
Office: +31 70 312 55 00
Fax: +31 70 363 59 10


The activities of the Representative on Freedom of The Media can be divided into two groups: observing media developments as part of an early warning function and helping participating States abide by their commitments to freedom of expression and free media.

Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

Wallnerstrasse 6
1010 Vienna
Office: +43 1 514 36 6800
Fax: +43 1 514 36 6802