OSCE and International Security

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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...

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