top of page


The information below is provided ahead of Security Council meeting on Thursday, 4 May 2023 with the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Bujar Osmani. This information is focused on human rights and the work of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) under the OSCE's human dimension.

The Human Rights Likeminded Office is exploring ways to strengthen linkages between the OSCE and the UN and promote information-sharing between Vienna, New York and Geneva. We have met with delegates in Vienna, attended the Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw, and are keen to do more. If you would like to support these efforts, please contact us.

Key topics below

Click heading to jump to section

  1. OSCE conference on torture and other grave violations (24-25 April 2023).

  2. OSCE conference on trafficking in persons and joint statement with UN SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict addressing Ukraine (18-19 April).

  3. OSCE Moscow Mechanism invoked to investigate forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children into Russia (30 March 2023).

  4. OSCE Moscow Mechanism invoked to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Belarus (23 March 2023).

  5. OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) annual report (16 March 2023).

  6. OSCE ODIHR activities and statements.

  7. OSCE Human Dimension Conference 2022, including comments by North Macedonia's representative (26 September to 7 October 2022).

  1. Briefing by the previous OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (14 March 2022).

  2. Briefing by the USG for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (14 March 2022).

  1. Statements during the previous meeting on the OSCE: Albania, Brazil, the UK, France and the US.


Relevant information for the Security Council to consider [856 words]

  1. On 24-25 April 2023, OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) held a conference centered on the responsibility of States to uphold international law, with a focus on torture and other grave breaches of IHL and gross violations of IHRL. Discussions examined the importance of investigating and documenting allegations of torture, including sexual and gender-based violence, to ensure accountability, as well as redress for victims. A final area of focus was on measures States can take to prevent gross violations of IHRL and what forms of redress are available.

  2. On 18-19 April 2023, the OSCE hosted the 23rd Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons. OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Mr. Valiant Richey, emphasized the need for political will. Recent data shows that despite the adoption of laws criminalizing trafficking, implementation is insufficient with regard to the Palermo Protocol and the OSCE Action Plan on Combating Trafficking, adopted some 20 years ago. “The scale of the crime has expanded, the nature of the crime has evolved, and our ability and effort to adjust and respond accordingly is lagging behind,” the Special Representative emphasized. On the same topic, the OSCE Special Representative delivered a joint statement with the UN SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten, expressing grave concern about the harm from the war against Ukraine. They provided detailed advice, calling to strengthen prevention and protection measures inside and outside Ukraine, in line with with UN Security Council Resolutions 2331 and 2388, as well as the OSCE recommendations. In this regard, it is worth recalling HRLO's Making it Simple blog post, referring to data from UNODC's recent report which identified the great risk of trafficking for Ukrainians.

  3. On 30 March 2023, 45 States invoked the OSCE Moscow Mechanism to investigate alleged forced transfer of Ukrainian children and their deportation into Russia. This invocation followed OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism Mission Reports of April and July 2022, which were also requested by 45 States. Human Rights Watch noted that the investigation had already begun and that the report will be due three weeks after the experts' mission.

  4. On 23 March 2023, 38 OSCE participating States invoked the OSCE Moscow Mechanism to examine human rights violations and abuses in Belarus.

  5. On 16 March 2023, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published its annual report, highlighting the impact of its activities in 2022. The report makes clear the organization's focus on Ukraine. ODIHR Director, Mr. Matteo Mecacci, notes that at the same time, ODIHR continues its work on a number of other issues that have become particularly urgent in the wake of the conflict. These range from human trafficking, through the integration of migrants and refugees, to combating hate crime. ODIHR also dedicated attention to advancing the inclusion of women, minorities and persons with disabilities, including in elections, which is the activity that received the greatest budget in 2022; strengthening democratic institutions, including through inclusive legislative processes, strengthened judicial independence, more resilient National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and supported civil society; as well as countering violence against women, promoting women's participation in parliaments and empowering Roma and Sinti women.

  6. Recent activities and statements from ODIHR addressed media freedom, peaceful assembly, the conviction of human rights defenders in Belarus, monitoring and reporting in Ukraine, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, as well as detention of migrant children. ODIHR addresses a broad range of topics under the Human Dimension, including human rights, democratization, elections, media freedom and development, national minority issues, Roma and Sinti, rule of law, as well as tolerance and non-discrimination. Its work is also supported by OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities (which is expected to visit at UN headquarters in May) and OSCE's Representative on Freedom of the Media. Cross-dimensional topics addressed by the OSCE include trafficking in persons, cyber-security, education, gender equality, migration and youth.

  7. From 26 September to 7 October 2022, OSCE held its Human Dimension Conference. The conference was hosted by the 2022 Polish CiO in Warsaw, funded by voluntary contributions, as there was no consensus on holding the conference (and supporting the OSCE's regular budget), due to opposition from Russia and bilateral disagreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HRLO representative attended the conference, which was a critical venue for engagement between governments and civil society. Discussions focused primarily, but not exclusively, on the human rights situation in Ukraine, as well as in Russia and Belarus. During the closing meeting, North Macedonia's representative noted certain priorities for the 2023 OiC, including youth's political participation; gender-related concerns, particularly in conflict, including trafficking in persons; and maintaining the OSCE's platform for dialogue with human rights defenders. She further stated the following:

Based on our unique and distinct model of a functioning multi-ethnic democracy, we will uphold all opportunities to bring about the full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination, in line with our OSCE commitments. These are core principles in any social setting which aims to provide enough space for everyone to realize their full potential. These principles will guide the 2023 Chair of North Macedonia.

Information previously considered by the Security Council [422 words]

  1. On 14 March 2022, the previous CiO of the OSCE, Poland's Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Zbigniew Rau, briefed the UN Security Council. He focused on Russia's full-scale invasion into Ukraine, which had begun three weeks earlier. He noted Russia's aggression and its violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the targeting of civilian population and infrastructure, attacks on hospitals, schools and kindergartens, as well as the use of banned weapons. The CiO stated: "Russia’s aggression threatens the very existence of the OSCE. Its non-compliance with OSCE principles and commitments poses questions not only about the future of the organization but also about the stability of the rules-based order." The CiO also referred to the OSCE's investigative work, as it invoked the Moscow Mechanism to create a group of independent experts to investigate reported violations of humanitarian law, within the context of the hostilities in Ukraine [OSCE's report was published before that of the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry].

  2. During the same meeting, the Under-Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, also briefed the Security Council. She referred to the shared commitment of the UN and OSCE to preventive diplomacy, mediation, peacebuilding and the women and peace and security agenda, which was reaffirmed through the joint declaration between the SG and the CiO in 2019. She referred to the OSCE's work (and UN's support) in the Western Balkans, Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno Karabakh, in addition to Ukraine. As Ms. DiCarlo called parties to recommit to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, it is worth recalling the 10 guiding principles of the Helsinki Act, each violated by Russia:

    1. Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty

    2. Refraining from the threat or use of force

    3. Inviolability of frontiers

    4. Territorial integrity of states

    5. Peaceful settlement of disputes

    6. Non-intervention in internal affairs

    7. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief

    8. Equal rights and self-determination of peoples

    9. Co-operation among States

    10. Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law

Ms. DiCarlo also called parties to recommit to the Paris Charter of 1990, which together with the Helsinki Act formed the basis for the development of the OSCE. It is worth noting the primary role given to human rights in the Paris Charter. It opens with a listing of human rights, not unlike the Universal Declaration Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, as it defines the dimensions which would eventually guide the OSCE's work, it begins first of all with the human dimension [p.7].


Comments by Members of the Security Council [313 words]

  1. On 14 March 2022, the Security Council held a meeting with the previous Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) of the OSCE. Albania stated that "the real concerns are the democratic values and principles of freedom on which the system [of the existing European security order] is based. In that respect, the OSCE comprehensive concept of security connects the dots between domestic repression and external aggression. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are key aspects for security within and between States." Brazil commended the OSCE for its mediation efforts in various conflicts as well as for advancing the WPS agenda and involving civil society organizations in conflict resolution and peace-building. It stressed the implications of the war in Ukraine on the international order and the principles of the UN Charter. It called on all parties to fully respect IHL and adopt measures to protect civilians, including through humanitarian access. The UK stated: "President Putin’s war violates fundamental principles of both the OSCE and the UN: sovereignty, inviolability of borders, respect for territorial integrity and the peaceful settlement of disputes." France echoed those comments and expressed its support for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and the OSCE’s human dimension institutions and instruments, including the Moscow Mechanism, launched on 3 March 2022, and the fact-finding mechanism set up by ODIHR on Ukraine’s borders. France also reiterated its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova and for the role of the OSCE in making progress towards a resolution of the conflicts taking place there. The US shared similar views and also pointed to Belarus. It further noted that the Special Monitoring Mission’s impartial reporting has proved invaluable to the international community’s understanding of the security situation on the ground. The US also recalled that Russia continued to occupy parts of Georgia and maintained its forces in Moldova without host Government consent.


The Human Rights Likeminded Office is exploring ways to strengthen linkages between the OSCE and the UN and promote information-sharing between Vienna, New York and Geneva. We have met with delegates in Vienna, attended the Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw, and are keen to do more. If you would like to support these efforts, please contact us.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page