Press Release

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

19 November 1999
OSCE Summit Adopts Charter for European Security

Istanbul, 19 November 1999 - At a signing ceremony in Istanbul today, the OSCE Heads of State and Heads of Government adopted a new European security document, the Charter for European Security. The Charter takes a number of important steps toward strengthening the OSCE's ability to prevent conflicts as well as its capacity to settle conflicts and rehabilitate societies ravaged by war and destruction.

The Charter for European Security lists a number of challenges to OSCE participating States, such as armed conflicts, international terrorism, organized crime, economic and environmental problems. It reaffirms the full adherence of all participating States to previous OSCE documents, which represent their common commitments.

Human rights, including the rights of national minorities, form an important part of the Charter. The participating States reject any policy of ethnic cleansing or mass expulsion and reaffirm their commitment to respect the rights of asylum seekers. They pledge to undertake measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and to end all forms of trafficking in human beings.

The signatories of the Charter reaffirm their obligation to conduct free and fair elections in accordance with OSCE commitments. They also reaffirm the importance of independent media and the free flow of information as well as the public's access to information.

In the Charter, the participating States commit themselves to take the following concrete steps:

1. Adopt a Platform for Co-operative Security, in order to further strengthen co-operation between the OSCE and other international organizations and institutions on the basis of equality and in a spirit of partnership;

2. Develop the OSCE's role in peacekeeping operations;

3. Create Rapid Expert Assistance and Co-operation Teams (REACT), enabling the OSCE to rapidly respond to requests from participating States for civilian and police expertise in conflict situations. This will give the OSCE the ability to address problems before they become crises and to deploy quickly the civilian component of a peacekeeping operation when needed;

4. Expand the OSCE's ability to carry out police related activities. Such activities include police monitoring, police training and promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in general;

5. Establish an Operation Centre at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna in order to facilitate effective preparation and planning of rapid deployment of OSCE field operations;

6. Establish a Preparatory Committee under the direction of the OSCE Permanent Council in order to strengthen the consultation process within the OSCE.

By developing existing OSCE instruments and creating new tools for conflict prevention, conflict management and post conflict rehabilitation, the Charter for European Security will benefit the security of all OSCE participating States. The Charter underpins the OSCE's role as the only pan-European security organization entrusted with ensuring peace and stability in its area.

For more information contact Melissa Fleming, tel (90 532) 790 75 68, or
Mans Nyberg, tel (90 535) 772 34 78)

Press and Public Information Section
OSCE Secretariat
Karntner Ring 5-7
A-1010 Vienna, Austria
tel: (+43-1) 514 36 180
E-mail: [email protected]