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Access to Justice for National Minorities – A Recurrent Theme in the Work of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

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This article provides an overview of the work of the OSCE HCNM on issues of access to justice for national minorities, based on a review of relevant thematic recommendations, country-specific advice, official statements, as well as other activities, projects and engagements of the HCNM. The article analyses how the HCNM’s specific mandate – as a political institution tasked to prevent inter-ethnic conflict, operating primarily through “quiet diplomacy” – has shaped its approach to human and minority rights, and to access to justice issues in particular. The overview shows that throughout the years, access to justice has become a recurrent, if at times tangential, theme for the institution. Overall, the article seeks to distil the general HCNM approach to access to justice issues as it was conveyed through a variety of thematic recommendations and guidelines, specific advice and other relevant engagements, undertaken in the course of the two-and-a-half decades of the institution’s existence.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Legal Adviser, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, The Hague, The Netherlands,


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