All Articles containing the tag: OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON NATIONAL MINORITIES

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


The Ukraine crisis and the issue of national minorities
Photo: OSCE/Arnaud Roelofsz
30 June 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 2

The Ukraine crisis and the issue of national minorities

National minorities are a political and social fact in Europe and many other parts of the world. In Europe, the issue of national minorities became particularly acute after the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 as well as more recently after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s. The newly created independent states became hosts to national minorities: for example, the Baltic States and Ukraine to a Russian minority, Romania to a Hungarian minority, Croatia to a Serb minority and vice versa, just to name a few.

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Ukraine a game-changer for the future of European security? The OSCE’s role as a regional arrangement of the United Nations
Photo: OSCE/Jonathan Perfect
19 June 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Ukraine a game-changer for the future of European security? The OSCE’s role as a regional arrangement of the United Nations

On 27 May, the OSCE hosted a Security Day Conference on the topic of "the OSCE and Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter: Confronting Emerging Security Challenges in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian Space." This latest event is part of a series of Security Day Conferences that look at how security can be improved in the OSCE area and beyond from multiple perspectives, involving multiple stakeholders. The events represent a considerable effort by the OSCE to ensure more transparency, to open up to a wider audience and include ideas not only from government representatives but also from researchers, academics and NGO representatives. The aim of the conference was to engage high-level panelists and a wide audience (including people following the conference via the live stream and social media) in a debate on how the OSCE can best support the UN as a regional arrangement in the current security context. The conference focused on the Organization's role in the areas of conflict prevention (early warning and early action) and conflict resolution (mediation), also taking into account the current crisis in Ukraine.

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Ukraine crisis: International law seriously undermined
Photo: OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev
9 May 2014 - Arie Bloed, Editor-in-Chief of Security and Human Rights - 0

Ukraine crisis: International law seriously undermined

It seems that the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula in March has plunged the world back into the pre-20th-century system of "might-makes-right" relations. Whatever one may think about the Russian annexation of the Crimea, it is clear that the pillars of our post-Second World War security system have been greatly undermined and consequently the whole system of international law has suffered almost irreparable damage. Russia is not the only great power demonstrating such outright contempt for international law. China with its increasingly aggressive claims of sovereignty over virtually all of the South China Sea and major parts of the East China Sea is demonstrating the same lack of respect for international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

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In the right place at the right time: Use the OSCE to defuse the crisis in Ukraine
Photo: OSCE/Jonathan Perfect
5 March 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

In the right place at the right time: Use the OSCE to defuse the crisis in Ukraine

The corridors of the Hofburg were unusually crowded with diplomats and filled with journalists when the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship convened a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council (PC) on 3 March in Vienna. When it became known during the weekend that US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had suggested to Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring in the OSCE to help ease growing tensions in Ukraine and especially the Crimean peninsula, all previous efforts by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship to promote the OSCE's role in the Ukrainian crisis seemed to have paid off. In my previous blog entry of 15 February I made a strong case for the OSCE helping settle the crisis in Ukraine not only because the Organization has the expertise and ideal tools available to do so but also because the current Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is in an ideal position to lead such efforts. It seems several leaders are starting to share this view.

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New OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
Photo: Public Domain
18 July 2013 - Walter Kemp - 0

New OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

On 11 July 2013, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities – Knut Vollebaek of Norway – made his last statement to the Permanent Council in Vienna. One week later, on 17 July, it was announced that his successor will be Astrid Thors of Finland. Her three year mandate will begin 20 August. What is Vollebaek’s legacy, and what will be on Ms. Thors’ agenda? Knut Vollebaek was no stranger to the OSCE when he became High Commissioner in the spring of 2007. He had been Chairman-in-Office when he was Foreign Minister of Norway in 1999, and led the Panel of Eminent Persons (tasked with making proposals to strengthen the effectiveness of the OSCE) in 2005.

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