Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are welcomed at many, though not all, meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
OSCE rules for NGO participation are much simpler and more inclusive than at the United Nations (UN) or other international organizations, particularly as concerns human dimension events. One of the advantages of the OSCE is that it is the only international organization in which NGOs are allowed to participate in human dimension meetings on an equal basis with participating States. NGOs—no matter how small—can raise their concerns directly with governments. (Governments have a right of reply.) In addition, NGOs can hold side events during human dimension meetings in which they can focus on specific subjects or countries in greater depth than in the regular sessions of the event.
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Contributor: Janice Helwig, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to the OSCE