BOOKREVIEW The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities: Negotiating the 1992 Conflict Prevention Mandate, Olivier Brenninkmeijer, PSIO Occasional paper 5/2005 [Programme for the Study of International Organization(s); Geneva 2005]. Rob Zaagman 1 The office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities ( HCNM ) is an institution of firmly established international renown and is widely considered to be one of the few genuine success stories in international conflict prevention. In view of the volatility and conflict potential of many inter-ethnic situations, it might seem self-evident that a security organization like the OSCE 2 should have such a tool to undertake investigation, mediation and — if necessary – early warning and early action in situations which could lead to violent (international) conflict. However, it was only with difficulty that the principle and mandate of the HCNM were agreed upon by the OSCE states. Even then, it took the first High Commissioner, Max van der Stoel, the good part of a year before he had won over the many still sceptical OSCE states to the view that his quiet inter-ethnic diplomacy could indeed improve rather than aggravate inter-ethnic situations. While that particular story of constituency building among the OSCE
Helsinki Monitor (in 2008 continued as Security and Human Rights) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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