The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) is based in Warsaw, Poland. It is active throughout the OSCE area in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and rule of law.
ODIHR At a Glance:
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the specialized institution of the OSCE dealing with elections, human rights, and democratization.
Based in Warsaw, Poland, the ODIHR:
- Promotes democratic election processes through the in-depth observation of elections and conducts election assistance projects that enhance meaningful participatory democracy;
- Assists OSCE participating States in the implementation of their human dimension commitments by providing expertise and practical support in strengthening democratic institutions through longer-term programmes to strengthen the rule of law, civil society, and democratic governance;
- Assists OSCE field missions in implementing their human dimension activities, including through training, exchange of experiences, and regional co-ordination;
- Contributes to early warning and conflict prevention by monitoring the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments by participating States; provides regular human-rights training for government authorities, civil society, and OSCE staff;
- Assists participating States with the implementation of international legal obligations and OSCE commitments on anti-terrorism in compliance with international human-rights standards;
- Assists participating States in implementing their commitments on tolerance and non-discrimination and supports efforts to respond to, and combat, hate crimes and incidents of racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance, including against Muslims;
- Serves as the OSCE Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues; promotes the full integration of Roma and Sinti groups into the societies in which they live;
- Organizes regular meetings on the implementation of human dimension commitments, such as the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, the annual Human Dimension Seminar, and Supplementary Human Dimension Meetings; and
- Implements a gender strategy by developing and adjusting its policies and actions to ensure gender mainstreaming while implementing, in parallel, activities designed to improve the situation of women in the OSCE region.
Within the broader fields of human rights and democratization, the ODIHR's expertise and activities focus on the following areas: democratic elections, monitoring the implementation of OSCE human-rights commitments by participating States, combating trafficking in human beings, Roma and Sinti issues, protecting human rights in the fight against terrorism, freedom of religion, civil society, freedom of movement, rule of law, gender equality, and combating racism and related forms of intolerance.
TANDIS (Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Information System) was developed by the ODIHR's Tolerance and Non-Discrimination department. In order to share and promote practices and initiatives and to provide information on issues related to tolerance and non-discrimination throughout the OSCE region, TANDIS gives access to:
- information received from the OSCE participating States, specialized institutions and other organizations;
- country pages providing information on country initiatives, legislation, national specialized bodies, statistics, and other information;
- thematic pages with information related to different key issues;
- international standards and instruments;
- information from intergovernmental organizations including country reports and annual reports.
The publication "Holocaust Memorial Days in the OSCE Region: An Overview of Governmental Practices" was developed by OSCE/ODIHR in close cooperation with the IHRA and launched at the IHRA Plenary meetings in Liège, Belgium on 12 December 2012. More information on this publication is available here.
In July 2010, Mr. Dan Tichon, the IHRA Chair under the Chairmanship of Israel, and Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of OSCE/ODIHR, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the IHRA and the OSCE/ODIHR in Jerusalem. The purpose of the Memorandum between the OSCE/ODIHR and the IHRA is to enhance their cooperation on combating antisemitism, xenophobia, hate crimes and other forms of extremism. This cooperation aims to raise awareness of the importance of Holocaust education and remembrance in the member countries of the IHRA and the participating States of the OSCE, including encouraging governments to strengthen Holocaust education and educational efforts to confront antisemitism in their societies and share best practices.