The organization for security and co-operation in Europe, OSCE, is the world’s largest security –oriented inter governmental organization. It has a membership of 56 participating member countries and 11 co-operation partners. Established in 1973, the organization has its secretariat in Vienna, Austria. The mandate of the OSCE lovers areas such as anus control, human rights, freedom of the press, and free and fair elections. The OSCE is an adhoc organization under the united nations charter and is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post conflict rehabilitation. Is 56 participating states are drawn from Europe, central Asia, the cancasus and north America covering most of the western hemisphere. The OSCE was created during the cold war as an east –west forum.

Structure and Institutions: political direction to the organization is provided by the heads of state and governments during their summit. Summit are not regular or scheduled but are held as and when needed. The last summit took place in Istanbul in 1999. the highest level decision making body of the organization is the ministerial council which meets at the end of every year. At ambassadorial levels the permanent council weekly in Vienna and serves as the regular negotiating and decision making body. 

            The post of chair person in office is held by the foreign minister of the participating state which holds the chairmanship at the time. The chairperson of the permanent council is the ambassador to Austria which holds the chairmanship. In addition to the ministerial council and the permanent council the forum for security co-operation is also an OSCE decision making body. It deals prominently with matters of military co-operation and other modalities for inspection according to the Vienna dominant of 1999.

            With the secretarial in Vienna, the OSCE has offices in Copenhagen, Geneva, the Hague, Prague and Warsons. The parliamentary assembly of the OSCE passes resolutions on matters such as political and security affairs, economic and environmental matters. As well as issues concerning democracy and human rights.  These resolutions represent the collective voice of the OSCE parliamentarians are meant to ensure that all participating states live up to  expectations  and carryout in full their commitments and obligations to the organization. The parliamentary assembly also engage in parliamentary diplomacy and has an extensive election observation programme.

            The oldest institution of the OSCE is the office for democratic institutions and human rights (ODIHR) established in 1991. the decision to establish of the ODIHR was based in morning  and is active throughout OSCE area in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, rule of law and Roma sinti issues. The ODIHR ahs observed more than 150 elections and referendums since 1995. it has deployed about 35,000 observers to carry out the exercise. Several times, the ODIHR have operated outside its own mea even in volatile spots. In October 2004, the OSCE sent a technical support team to Afghanistan and in September sent a partnership for co-operation and election support team to assist with parliamentary and provincial council election.

            The office of OSCE representative on freedom of the media was established in 1997. This office acts as a watch dog on freedom of expression and related matters. It provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression especially in OSCE participating states. The representative also assists participating states by advocating and promoting full compliance with OSCE norms, principles and commitments regarding freedom of expression and free media.

Chairmanship/ leadership: the day to day running of the affairs of the OSCE is the responsibility of the chairperson in office (410) this responsibility is divided into:
a.         Co-ordinating the work of all OSCE institutions and ensuring that each institution compliment the other in working harmoniously towards the achievement of the goals and objectives of the organization.
b.        Representing the organization both within and outside OSCE territories. He is more or less the symbol of the organization.
c.        Supervising activities related to conflict prevention, crises management and post conflict rehabilitation.
The chairperson in office (c10) rotates annually and is held by the foreign minister of the state currently holding the chairmanship. The C10 is assisted by the previous c10 and the incoming c10, and the three working together constitute the troika.
            Relations with the UN- the OSCE considers itself a regional organization in the sense of chapter viii of the UN charter. It enjoys an observer states in the UN general assembly. The chairperson in office gives routine briefings to the UN Security Council. In so many ways, the goals and objectives of the OSCE agures with the greater objectives of the UN particularly in the area of world peace, human rights, democracy and general freedom. The OSCE and the UN therefore see each other as partners in progress.

General OSCE Activities
            Political and military dimensions: the OSCE takes a comprehensive approach to the politics- military dimension of security and related matters including a number of commitments by participating states and mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution. The organization also seek to enhance security by promoting greater openers avoid transparency in military matters and weapons issues, it encourages co-operation not only among its members but with all peace loving nations of the world. The OSCE try to encourage states to opt for peaceful resolution of conflicts rather than war and aggressive behaviour.

Arms Control:         the end of he cold war created a situation of surplus amount of weapons uncontrolled and available in what Is commonly known as the international grey market for weapon the OSCE help to stop the illegal traffic of such weapons and offers assistance towards the destruction of such weapons. The international grey market which a variant of the black market enjoyed a boom following the collapse of the Soviet Union in d1991.  the danger proved by the situation set the alarm bells ringing in many countries and regions particularly the western democracies.

Border Management:  The OSCE takes stringent actions on border monitoring and control. This is necessary to prevent snuggling of contraband and gun-ruining across the border. It also checks the influent of illegal goods and commercials materials across national boundaries.

Combating Terrorism:      With is erepertize in conflict prevention, crisis management and early warning activities the OSCE contributes to would made efforts in combating internationals terrorium and the use of terror by same states and organizations as instruments of policy.

Conflict Prevention:   The OSCE works hard to prevent conflict situations and the use of war as choice of policy. When conflict becomes inevitable, the organization works to facilitate cessation f hostilities and helps create comprehensive political and diplomatic settlements and new levels of relationship. It also helps with there habilitation process in post- conflict areas.

Military Reforms:    The OSCE forum for security co-operation provides a frame work for political dialogue on military reforms and strategic re-organization. Practical activities are conducted by field operations as well as the conflict prevention centre.

Policing:  OSCE police operations are an integral part of the organizations efforts in conflict prevention and port-conflict rehabilitation.

OSCE works in Bosnia Harzagovina: the OSCE was a rather small organization with very limited scope and influence until 1996 when the international community selected is to provide electoral organization in port-war Bosnia and Herzayovina. Ambassador Frowick was the first OSCE representative to imitate national election in September 1996. he also created the baric foundation for human rights observance and the rule of law specifically designed to provide a foundation for judicial organization within Bosnia and Herzagovina.
            The OSCE has regional offices and field officers, the OSCE essentially took the place of the UN in Bosnia and Herzagovina in part became the Boznian leadership felt a deep contempt for the lack hustre UN efforts to stop the war which larted from 1991 to 1995, the feeling have was that the UN was neither decisive nor firm in its management of the Bornian conflict such that while it stood by agonizing over what action to take and how to go about providing a political solution, genocide was going on unabated, this culminated in the death of 200,000 Bosnians and the displacement of over 1 million refuges, there atrocities took place right under the noses of thousands of UN troops ported in and around Bosnia and Herzagovina.

Economic and environmental issues:       Activities in the economic and environmental dimension include the monitoring of development 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. The OSCE has developed a range of activities in the environmental sphere aimed at addressing ecological threats to security in its participating states. Economic activities. Among the economic activities of the OSCE feature initiatives aimed at promoting good governance, combating corruption, money laundry, human trafficking and the financing of terronish activities. Also included here are activities related to migration management, transport and energy security in its participating states. All activities are implemented in close co-operation with partner organizations such as UN agencies, the Council of Europe, the World Bank and the OECD.
            Human dimensions the commitments made by OSCE participating states in the human dimension angle aim at ensuring full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This commitment compels states to abide by the rule of law and to promote the principles of democracy by building. Strengthening and protecting democratic institutions. It also impresses the used to promote tolerance throughout the OSCE region.

Human Trafficking:  Since 2003, the OSCE has had an established mechanism for combating human trafficking as defined in the article of the Palermo protocol, which aimed at raising public awareness of the problem and building he political will within member states to tackle it effectively. The OSCE actions against human trafficking are co-ordinated through the office of the special representative for combating trafficking in human beings. Related functions of this office include
1.         Co-operation with governments, helping them to accept and act on their responsibility for curbing human trafficking.
2.         Providing governments with decision and policy making aids and offering guidance on anti-trafficking management, with the aim of arriving at solutions tailored to the needs of the individuals countries in line with international standards.
3.         Assisting governments to develop the national anti-traffic structures required for efficient internal and transactional co-operation.
4.         Raising awareness to draw attention to the complexity of the problem and to the need for comprehensive solutions.
5.         Considering all dimensions of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking for forced and bonded labour including domestic servitude, trafficking into forced marriages, trafficking in organs and trafficking in children.
6.         Ensuring the effective interaction of all agents and stake holders involved in the fight against human trafficking, raising form governmental authorities, law enforcement officials to NGOS and other international organizations.

Democratization: The OSCE concern itself with the promotion of democracy and assisting the participating states in building democratic institutions. OSCE states also try to promote democracy outside its members states by encouraging other states to imbibe democratic principles as a viable means of political engagement. To this end, election monitoring and assistance enjoy enormous OSCE attention. It carries out election assistance projects in the run up ordinary elections.

Education:  Education programmes are an integral part of the organizations efforts in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation. The OSCE believes that adequate education and proper orientation is a standard panacea for conflict resolution and management techniques.
Gender Equality: The equality of men and women is an essential part of sustaining democracy and reasonable standard of living for all people. The OSCE aims to provide equal opportunity for man and women and to integrate gender equality in both policies and practices.

Human Right: The OSCE human rights activities focus on such priority means such as freedom of movement, freedom of worship, conscience and religion and the prevention of torture and human trafficking and other activities that amount to human degradation.

Media Freedom: The OSCE observes relevant media developments in its participating states with a view to addressing and providing early warning in violations of freedom of expression.
Minority Rights: Ethnic conflicts is one of the main sources of large scale violence in Europe and many parts of the world. The OSCE’s approach is to identify and to seek early resolution of ethnic conflicts and tension situations before it degenerates into armed conflict. The OSCE tries to set standards for the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.

Criticisms of the OSCE: Respite the activities outlined above, the OSCE has faced criticisms from many quarters over some of its activities or lack of it some criticisms leveled against the OSCE are as follow:
1.         It has been accused by Russia and the US of being a tool of western states to advance their own interest. During the orange revolution in Ukraine in 2004, Russia accused the OSCE of involvement on the side of the west and taking measures to ensure victory for the western candidate.
2.         The OSCE has been accused of promoting the foreign policy of the west in all its activities. The idea that the OSCE has pursues a world wide interest has been rejected by many especially those belonging to the eastern bloc.
3.         Decision making procedures are tailored to reflect the sentiments expressed above. When matters affecting western interests are on board, there are no prevarications.
4.        Its decision making procedure is not democratic. Some states are more powerful and more influential than others.
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