The Heart of the Matter The Human Dimension of the OSCE Max van der Stoel1 Introduction On 1 August 1995, we will be celebrating 20 years of the Helsinki Final Act. The Final Act was the first standard-setting document of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or the CSCE, rechristened by the Buda- pest Summit Meeting of December 1994 as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).2 Few people will realise that the signature of this document by 35 heads of state and government was a milestone in international relations in Europe. I am even sure that quite a few of those who signed it themselves at the time did not realise its significance. As the Dutch Foreign Minister at the time and present when the Dutch Prime Minister put his signature to it, I recall that I could only hope for a positive effect of this product of long and painful negotiations. My political and personal interest was mainly drawn to Principle VII of the Decalogue, the list of ten principles guiding relations between participating states. This principle put human rights at the same level as other, more traditional principles like non-recourse to
Helsinki Monitor (in 2008 continued as Security and Human Rights) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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