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Osce And International Security Essay

1188 words - 5 pages

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is a regional security based organization. This organization is unique in many ways and has been contributing to the security of its members and neighbors since 1975. The OSCE has had a busy history from the Cold War and beyond. With the end of the Cold War major shifts have come about in the area of international security that this organization primarily deals with. The OSCE is now facing a new era where it needs to convince its members that it still has a role to play.
The OSCE was initially formed as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe by Helsinki Final act in 1975. This act outlined the principles upon which the organization was to be based and the specific areas in which the members would work. The principles which guide the actions of states amongst themselves include: sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty, territorial integrity of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-intervention in internal affairs, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, co-operation among States, and fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law. The document goes on to lay out that the states shall work together in the fields of human rights, on politico-military affairs and on economic, scientific and environmental issues. The organization has been unique from its inception because of the geographic area with which it was associated and the range of participants. It encompasses an area from Vladivostock to Vancouver with member states including both the United States of America and Canada in North America on to mainland Europe and Russia and states throughout Central Asia. During this tense time of the Cold War it is interesting to see the two sides coming together for a security conference. From its inception through to the end of the Cold War the CSCE functioned as a forum for discussions on security issues. In the early 1990’s there was a shift in priorities for the CSCE, the political instability of the new states called for a more permanent organization and a larger more permanent bureaucracy was formed. This bureaucracy was designed to function on the basis of the three main fields laid out in the Helsinki document.
The OSCE was constructed as a forum for discussions on European security and while the Helsinki act created this forum, it did not at any point turn it into a legal organization. The member states are only bound to the OSCE on a political level not as international law because the documents creating it were never intended to be treaties that would have required them to be ratified by the member governments. This is one of the weaknesses of the OSCE. If it had legal status the organization would be able to bind its members to decisions. However, since it is not a treaty...

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