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Czech Republic has successfully concluded its Chairmanship of the OSCE Human Dimension Committee

With a special meeting of the OSCE Human Dimension Committee (HDC) focusing on the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Paris Charter for a New Europe, the Czech Republic has successfully completed its two-year Chairmanship of the Committee. The final meeting of the Committee under the Czech Chairmanship, held on 15 December 2020, highlighted the importance of the Paris Charter as an important historic milestone, which has laid foundations of the institutionalization process of the CSCE and its transformation into the OSCE, but also as a document defining a common democratic basis for all participating States, including the direct relevance of the respect for human rights, democratic governance and the free market economy to security.

In the preamble of the Paris Charter, the OSCE participating States declared that the era of confrontation and division of Europe had ended, and that the relations would newly be founded on respect and co-operation. The experience gained by the Czech Republic together with other countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the process of subsequent social transformation has further served as an inspiration for the formation and realization of the Czech foreign policy. Promoting the respect for human rights and democracy in the world represents a long-term priority of the Czech Republic, which has been actively and consistently promoted in various international fora, including the OSCE. The two-year Chairmanship of the Committee has therefore confirmed the potential and reputation of the Czech Republic in the field of international protection of human rights.

Within its Chairmanship in the Committee, which serves as a platform for dialogue among the OSCE participating States on the implementation of human dimension commitments and supports the OSCE Chairmanship in this respect, the Czech Republic focused on human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as on the important issue of tolerance and non-discrimination. Within the thematic meetings of the Committee organized by the Czech Republic, special attention was dedicated to the areas that are among the priorities of Czech foreign policy, including elections/election observation, political participation, and support of civil society.

Towards the end of the year, the Czech Chairmanship negotiated the Ministerial Council outcomes in the human dimension, where it succeeded in reaching consensus and adopting a text of the Ministerial Council decision on the prevention and eradication of torture. The adopted text, which is a breakthrough in the human dimension after several years without ministerial outcome, reaffirms and further strengthens existing OSCE commitments in the area of torture prevention, as it contains several new aspects and a new language, including underlining the important role of ODIHR in this area, focusing on victims of torture and their families, stressing the gender-sensitive approach in the fight against torture, and strengthening the elements of enforced disappearances and connections with the death penalty.