The OSCE came into existence from 1975 after the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which was held in Helsinki, Finland. OSCE is the world’s leading intergovernmental security oriented organization. The organization is mandated to control arms, promote human rights, fair elections, and freedom of the press. OSCE has 57 participant states and these states are located in Europe, North- America, North, and Central Asia.
The establishment of OSCE began in 1973 in the CSCE during the Cold War era. The Soviet Unions suggested holding talks so as they could maintain controlling the Eastern Europe communist countries. The talks were held in Helsinki in Finland where 35 states had been represented. Talks were held in three stages the last of which was held on July 21, 1975, and that is when OSCE was formed through the signing of an agreement by the present 35 countries.
OSCE has 57 participating states that come from three continents: Europe, Asia, and North America. The countries include Andorra, Albania, Romania, Austria, Belarus, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, Croatia, and United Kingdom. Other nations are Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Montenegro , Belgium ,Georgia, Hungary, Holy See, Armenia, , Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, , Bosnia & Herzegovina , Mongolia, , Norway, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Russian Federation, Iceland , Serbia, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Czech Republic, Turkey, Monaco, Ukraine, United States, Cyprus and Uzbekistan
The organization has structures that execute its mandate.
•OSCE Parliamentary Assembly comprises of 323 parliamentarians that have its members from the geographical locations of the member state. It is tasked at leading election observations, strengthening of cooperation among the participants, and undertaking parliamentary debates on diplomacy.
•OSCE National Minorities High Commissioner is tasked with identifying causes and of conflict and addressing them and settling of tensions involving national minorities.
•OSCE Office for Human Rights &Democratic Institution offers support in promoting democracy and the rule of law.
•OSCE Media Freedom Representative helps in observing of media developments, combating hate speech, and promoting freedom of expression.
•Court of Conciliation and Arbitration is a dispute settling mechanism that helps resolve in interparty differences.
•OSCE Minsk Group leads the organization efforts in having a solution in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. France, the United States, and the Russian Federation head this institution.
•The secretary general who supports the operation of the organization heads OSCE Secretariat.
Below are the objectives of OSCE.
•OSCE provides border management by facilitating authentic travel, commerce, and protecting human rights.
•OSCE offers arms control in order to bolster security in the region and preventing illegal arm ownership.
•It is tasked with providing counter-terrorism measures.
•OSCE works in conflict prevention and settling long lasting resolution to such conflicts.
1. Present State
A majority of OSCE staff are in field operations in Europe, as well as Central Asia areas. Present OSCE operation in Albania aims at fighting trafficking aimed at electoral assistance, arms control, fighting gender mistreatment, promoting human rights and controlling media reforms.
OSCE has received criticism, especially from Russia who claims that the organization is being used by the Western States in advancing their own private interests.