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Freedom

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe


[Picture]
he Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is responsible for monitoring the compliance of nations with the Helsinki Accords.

     The Helsinki Accords, also known as the Helsinki Final Act, is a major human rights treaty signed by more than 50 European nations, plus the United States and Canada.

     Named after the city where the treaty was signed, it lays out areas of cooperation between nations in the fields of military security, economics and human rights. Subsequent additions were made in Vienna, Copenhagen and Paris to further specify and ratify the accords in the field of human rights.

     The accords state that “participating states will recognize and respect the freedom of the individual to profess and practice, alone or in community with others, religion or belief acting in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience.”

     The degree to which each government in practice does enforce the human rights protections in the U.N. Covenants, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Helsinki Accords says much about the state of its democracy and respect for human rights.

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