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Helsinki Decisions


The Human Dimension

(1) The participating States conducted a useful review of implementation of CSCE commitments in the Human Dimension. They based their discussion on the new community of values established among them, as set forth by the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and developed by the new standards created within the CSCE in recent years. They noted major progress in complying with Human Dimension commitments, but recognized developments of serious concern and thus the need for further improvement.

(2) The participating States express their strong determination to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to abide by the rule of law, to promote the principles of democracy and, in this regard, to build, strengthen and protect democratic institutions, as well as to promote tolerance throughout society. To these ends, they will broaden the operational framework of the CSCE, including by further enhancing the ODIHR, so that information, ideas, and concerns can be exchanged in a more concrete and meaningful way, including as an early warning of tension and potential conflict. In doing so, they will focus their attention on topics in the Human Dimension of particular importance. They will therefore keep the strengthening of the Human Dimension under constant consideration, especially in a time of change.

(3) In this regard, the participating States adopt the following:

Framework for monitoring compliance with CSCE commitments and for promoting co-operation in the human dimension

(4) In order to strengthen and monitor compliance with CSCE commitments as well as to promote progress in the Human Dimension, the participating States agree to enhance the framework of their cooperation and to this end decide the following:

Enhanced role of the ODIHR

(5) Under the general guidance of the CSO and in addition to its existing tasks as set out in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe and in the Prague Document on Further Development of CSCE Institutions and Structures, the ODIHR will, as the main institution of the Human Dimension:

(5a) assist the monitoring of implementation of commitments in the Human Dimension by:

(5b) act as a clearing-house for information on:

(5c) assist other activities in the field of the Human Dimension, including the building of democratic institutions by:

(6) The activities on Human Dimension issues undertaken by the ODIHR may, inter alia, contribute to early warning in the prevention of conflicts.

Human Dimension Mechanism

(7) In order to align the Human Dimension Mechanism with present CSCE structures and institutions the participating States decide that:

Any participating State which deems it necessary may provide information on situations and cases which have been the subject of requests under paragraphs 1 or 2 of the chapter entitled the "Human Dimension of the CSCE" of the Vienna Concluding Document or on the results of those procedures, to the participating States through the ODIHR - which can equally serve as a venue for bilateral meetings under paragraph 2 - or diplomatic channels. Such information may be discussed at Meetings of the CSO, at implementation meetings on Human Dimension issues and review conferences.

(8) Procedures concerning the covering of expenses of expert and rapporteur missions of the Human Dimension Mechanism may be considered by the next review conference in the light of experience gained.


Implementation meetings on Human Dimension issues

(9) Every year in which a review conference does not take place, the ODIHR will organize a threeweek meeting at expertlevel of all participating States at its seat to review implementation of CSCE Human Dimension commitments. The meeting will perform the following tasks:

(9a) a thorough exchange of views on the implementation of Human Dimension commitments, including discussion on the information provided in accordance with paragraph 4 of the Human Dimension Mechanism and on the Human Dimension aspects of the reports of CSCE missions, as well as the consideration of ways and means of improving implementation;

(9b) an evaluation of the procedures for monitoring compliance with commitments.

(10) The implementation meeting may draw to the attention of the CSO measures to improve implementation which it deems necessary.

(11) The implementation meeting will not produce a negotiated document.

(12) Written contributions and information material will be of a non-restricted or restricted character as indicated by the submitting State.

(13) Implementation meetings will be organized to meet in formal and informal sessions. All formal sessions will be open. In addition, the participating States may decide, on a case-by-case basis, to open informal sessions.

(14) The Council of Europe, the European Commission for Democracy through Law and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as other relevant international organizations and institutions will be encouraged by the implementation meeting to attend and make contributions.

(15) Non-governmental organizations having relevant experience in the field of the Human Dimension are invited to make written presentations to the implementation meeting, e.g. through the ODIHR, and may be invited by the implementation meeting, on the basis of their written presentations, to address specific questions orally as appropriate.

(16) During two half days in the course of the implementation meeting no formal session will be scheduled in order to provide better opportunities for possible contacts with NGOs. To this purpose, a hall at the meeting site will be placed at the disposal of NGOs.

CSCE Human Dimension seminars

(17) Under the general guidance of the CSO, the ODIHR will organize CSCE Human Dimension seminars which will address specific questions of particular relevance to the Human Dimension and of current political concern. The CSO will establish an annual work programme including the titles and dates of such seminars. The agenda and modalities of each seminar will be approved by the CSO at the latest three months before the seminar. In doing so, the CSO will take into account views expressed by the ODIHR. Unless otherwise decided, seminars will be held at the seat of the ODIHR and will not exceed one week. The work programme will take into account work by relevant international organizations and institutions.

(18) These seminars will be organized in an open and flexible manner. Relevant international organizations and institutions may be invited to attend and to make contributions. So may NGOs with relevant experience. Independent experts attending the seminar as members of national delegations will also be free to speak in their own capacity.

(19) CSCE seminars will be organized to meet in formal and informal sessions. All formal sessions will be open. In addition, the participating States may decide, on a case-by-case basis, to open informal sessions.

(20) CSCE seminars will not produce a negotiated document or follow-up programmes.

(21) Contributions by independent experts will be of a nonrestricted character.

(22) In order to launch the new CSCE Human Dimension Seminars without delay, the participating States decide now at the Helsinki Follow-up Meeting that the ODIHR will organize the following four seminars:

These seminars will be held before 31 December 1993. The agenda and modalities of the seminars will be decided by the CSO. Seminars on migrant workers and on local democracy will be included in the first annual work programme of seminars. The financial implications of the seminar programme will be kept under consideration by the CSO.

Enhanced commitments and co-operation in the Human Dimension

National minorities

The participating States

(23) Reaffirm in the strongest terms their determination to implement in a prompt and faithful manner all their CSCE commitments, including those contained in the Vienna Concluding Document, the Copenhagen Document and the Geneva Report, regarding questions relating to national minorities and rights of persons belonging to them;

(24) Will intensify in this context their efforts to ensure the free exercise by persons belonging to national minorities, individually or in community with others, of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to participate fully, in accordance with the democratic decisionmaking procedures of each State, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of their countries including through democratic participation in decisionmaking and consultative bodies at the national, regional and local level, inter alia, through political parties and associations;

(25) Will continue through unilateral, bilateral and multilateral efforts to explore further avenues for more effective implementation of their relevant CSCE commitments, including those related to the protection and the creation of conditions for the promotion of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of national minorities;

(26) Will address national minority issues in a constructive manner, by peaceful means and through dialogue among all parties concerned on the basis of CSCE principles and commitments;

(27) Will refrain from resettling and condemn all attempts, by the threat or use of force, to resettle persons with the aim of changing the ethnic composition of areas within their territories;

(28) Direct the ODIHR to organize, in spring 1993, a CSCE Human Dimension Seminar on Case Studies on National Minorities Issues: Positive Results.

Indigenous populations

The participating States

(29) Noting that persons belonging to indigenous populations may have special problems in exercising their rights, agree that their CSCE commitments regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms apply fully and without discrimination to such persons.

Tolerance and non-discrimination

The participating States

(30) Express their concern over recent and flagrant manifestations of intolerance, discrimination, aggressive nationalism, xenophobia, antisemitism and racism and stress the vital role of tolerance, understanding and cooperation in the achievement and preservation of stable democratic societies;

(31) Direct the ODIHR to organize, in autumn 1992, a CSCE Human Dimension Seminar on Tolerance;

(32) Will consider adhering to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, if they have not already done so;

(33) Will consider taking appropriate measures within their constitutional framework and in conformity with their international obligations to assure to everyone on their territory protection against discrimination on racial, ethnic and religious grounds, as well as to protect all individuals, including foreigners, against acts of violence, including on any of these grounds. Moreover, they will make full use of their domestic legal processes, including enforcement of existing laws in this regard;

(34) Will consider developing programmes to create the conditions for promoting nondiscrimination and crosscultural understanding which will focus on human rights education, grass-roots action, cross-cultural training and research;

(35) Reaffirm, in this context, the need to develop appropriate programmes addressing problems of their respective nationals belonging to Roma and other groups traditionally identified as Gypsies and to create conditions for them to have equal opportunities to participate fully in the life of society, and will consider how to co-operate to this end.

Migrant workers

The participating States

(36) Restate that human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal, that they are also enjoyed by migrant workers wherever they live and stress the importance of implementing all CSCE commitments on migrant workers and their families lawfully residing in the participating States;

(37) Will encourage the creation of conditions to foster greater harmony in relations between migrant workers and the rest of the society of the participating State in which they lawfully reside. To this end, they will seek to offer, inter alia, measures to facilitate the familiarization of migrant workers and their families with the languages and social life of the respective participating State in which they lawfully reside so as to enable them to participate in the life of the society of the host country;

(38) Will, in accordance with their domestic policies, laws and international obligations seek, as appropriate, to create the conditions for promoting equality of opportunity in respect of working conditions, education, social security and health services, housing, access to trade unions as well as cultural rights for lawfully residing and working migrant workers.

Refugees and displaced persons

The participating States

(39) Express their concern over the problem of refugees and displaced persons;

(40) Emphasize the importance of preventing situations that may result in mass flows of refugees and displaced persons and stress the need to identify and address the root causes of displacement and involuntary migration;

(41) Recognize the need for international cooperation in dealing with mass flows of refugees and displaced persons;

(42) Recognize that displacement is often a result of violations of CSCE commitments, including those relating to the Human Dimension;

(43) Reaffirm the importance of existing international standards and instruments related to the protection of and assistance to refugees and will consider acceding to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol, if they have not already done so;

(44) Recognize the importance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as of nongovernmental organizations involved in relief work, for the protection of and assistance to refugees and displaced persons;

(45) Welcome and support unilateral, bilateral and multilateral efforts to ensure protection of and assistance to refugees and displaced persons with the aim of finding durable solutions;

(46) Direct the ODIHR to organize, in early 1993, a CSCE Human Dimension Seminar on Migration, Including Refugees and Displaced Persons.

International humanitarian law

The participating States

(47) Recall that international humanitarian law is based upon the inherent dignity of the human person;

(48) Will in all circumstances respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law including the protection of the civilian population;

(49) Recall that those who violate international humanitarian law are held personally accountable;

(50) Acknowledge the essential role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in promoting the implementation and development of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions and their relevant Protocols;

(51) Reaffirm their commitment to extend full support to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and to the United Nations organizations, particularly in times of armed conflict, respect their protective emblems, prevent the misuse of these emblems and, as appropriate, exert all efforts to ensure access to the areas concerned;

(52) Commit themselves to fulfilling their obligation to teach and disseminate information about their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Democracy at a local and regional level

The participating States

(53) Will endeavour, in order to strengthen democratic participation and institution building and in developing cooperation among them, to share their respective experience on the functioning of democracy at a local and regional level, and welcome against this background the Council of Europe information and education network in this field;

(54) Will facilitate contacts and encourage various forms of co-operation between bodies at a local and regional level.


The participating States

(55) Recognize that everyone has the right to a nationality and that no one should be deprived of his/her nationality arbitrarily;

(56) Underline that all aspects of nationality will be governed by the process of law. They will, as appropriate, take measures, consistent with their constitutional framework not to increase statelessness;

(57) Will continue within the CSCE the discussion on these issues.

Capital punishment

The participating States

(58) Confirm their commitments in the Copenhagen and Moscow Documents concerning the question of capital punishment.

Free media

The participating States

(59) Direct the ODIHR to organize a CSCE Human Dimension Seminar on Free Media, to be held in 1993. The goal of the Seminar will be to encourage the discussion, demonstration, establishment of contacts and exchange of information between governmental representatives and media practitioners.


The participating States

(60) Would welcome, in view of the importance of education as to the dissemination of the ideas of democracy, human rights and democratic institutions, especially in a period of change, the organization to this end of a seminar entitled "Education: Structures, Policies and Strategies" by the Council of Europe, open to all participating States.

Compilation of Human Dimension commitments

The participating States

(61) Welcome the drawing up of compilations of existing CSCE Human Dimension commitments in order to promote greater understanding for the implementation of these commitments.

Domestic implementation guidelines

The participating States

(62) Will promote, where appropriate, the drawing up of guidelines to assist the effective implementation of domestic legislation on human rights issues related to CSCE commitments.