Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Last updated
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.png
Mlodziejowski Palace in Warsaw.JPG
Młodziejowski Palace in Warsaw, the seat of ODIHR
Office overview
Jurisdiction Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Headquarters Warsaw, Poland
Office executive
Europe blank laea location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (Europe)

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the principal institution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) dealing with the "human dimension" of security. The Office, originally established in 1991 under the 1990 Paris Charter as the Office for Free Elections, is still best known for its role in observing elections although its name changed in 1992 to reflect the broadening of its by the Helsinki Summit.


Based in Warsaw, Poland, ODIHR is active throughout the 57 participating States of the OSCE. It assists governments in meeting their commitments as participating States of the OSCE in the areas of elections, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and tolerance and non-discrimination. The Office also hosts the organization's Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues.

On 4 December 2020, Matteo Mecacci of Italy, received a nomination for the position of ODIHR's Director. [1]

In 2021 the Office had a budget of €16 million and employed 146 people, of which a supermajority were women. [2]

ODIHR activities

The ODIHR has observed more than elections across the OSCE region and has deployed some 75,000 observers.

The Office organizes the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Europe's largest human rights conference.

ODIHR international electoral observer activities

ODIHR Directors

ODIHR Directors
PhotoName and SurnameOSCE participating StateMandate
Luchino Cortese Flag of Italy.svg Italy1991–1994
Audrey Glover.png
Dame Audrey Glover Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom1994–1997
Gérard Stoudmann Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Switzerland1997–2003
Christian Strohal Flag of Austria.svg Austria2003–2008
Janez Lenarcic Hearing of Janez Lenarcic (Slovenia) - Crisis management (48832709173) (cropped).jpg
Janez Lenarčič
Janez Lenarčič Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia2008–2014
Michael Georg Link 2014.jpg
Michael Georg Link Flag of Germany.svg Germany2014–2017
Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir (2007) Islands utrikesminister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir vid Nordiska Radets session i Oslo. 2007-10-31. Foto- Magnus
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir (2007)
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir Flag of Iceland.svg Iceland2017–2020
Katarzyna Gardapkhadze - Alternate Director Flag of Poland.svg Poland2020
Matteo Mecacci, deputato radicale XVI legislatura e relatore dell'Osce su democrazia e diritti umani.jpg
Matteo Mecacci Flag of Italy.svg Italy2020–present

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe</span> Security-oriented intergovernmental organization

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest regional security-oriented intergovernmental organization with observer status at the United Nations. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and free and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations but also in its secretariat in Vienna, Austria, and its institutions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elections in Russia</span> Political elections for public offices in Russia

On the federal level, Russia elects a president as head of state and a parliament, one of the two chambers of the Federal Assembly. The president is elected for, at most, two consecutive six-year terms by the people. The Federal Assembly has two chambers. The State Duma has 450 members, elected for five-year terms. The Federation Council is not directly elected; each of the 85 federal subjects of Russia sends 2 delegates to the Federal Council, for a total of 170 members.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2004 Russian presidential election</span>

Presidential elections were held in Russia on 14 March 2004. Incumbent President Vladimir Putin was seeking a second full four-year term. It was a landslide victory for Putin, who was re-elected with 71.9% of the vote.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Strada International Association</span> Organisation combatting the trafficking of persons in Europe.

La Strada International (LSI) is an international NGO network addressing the trafficking of persons in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elections in Kazakhstan</span> Political elections for public offices in Kazakhstan

Elections in Kazakhstan are held on a national level to elect a President and the Parliament, which is divided into two bodies, the Majilis and the Senate. Local elections for maslihats are held every five years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Election monitoring</span>

Election monitoring involves the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or from a non-governmental organization (NGO). The monitoring parties aim primarily to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation and of international election standards. There are national and international election observers. Monitors do not directly prevent electoral fraud, but rather record and report instances of suspicious practices. Election observation increasingly looks at the entire electoral process over a long period of time, rather than at election-day proceedings only. The legitimacy of an election can be affected by the criticism of monitors, unless they are themselves seen as biased. A notable individual is often appointed honorary leader of a monitoring organization in an effort to enhance legitimacy of the monitoring process.

Quick count is a method for verification of election results by projecting them from a sample of the polling stations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2008 Georgian presidential election</span>

Presidential elections were held in Georgia on 5 January 2008, moved forward from autumn 2008 by President Mikheil Saakashvili after the 2007 demonstrations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1999 Kazakh presidential election</span> Presidential election held in Kazakhstan

Presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan on 10 January 1999. Incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev won the election with over 80% of the vote, and was sworn into office on 20 January 1999. Most observers viewed the election as blatantly unfair, further confirming that Nazarbayev was not interested in promoting a democratic system of government. Voter turnout was reported to be 87.0%.

The Fighting Discrimination Program of Human Rights First focuses on the violence known as hate crimes or bias crimes. Because equality is a cornerstone of human rights protection, discrimination in all its forms is a violation of human rights. Discrimination can take the form of violence generated by prejudice and hatred founded upon a person's race, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, age or other such factors. Through the Fighting Discrimination Program, Human Rights First seeks to combat discrimination by reversing the tide of antisemitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim violence and reducing other bias crime in North America, Europe, and the Russian Federation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues</span>

The Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues is the main structure within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) assisting governments in implementing their commitments relating to the rights of Roma and Sinti populations. The Contact Point is located within the Warsaw-based OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Janez Lenarčič</span> Slovenian diplomat

Janez Lenarčič is a Slovenian diplomat who has been serving as European Commissioner for Crisis Management in the Von der Leyen Commission since 2019. He is a former Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2013 Azerbaijani presidential election</span> Presidential election in Azerbaijan

Presidential elections were held in Azerbaijan on 9 October 2013. The result was a victory for incumbent President Ilham Aliyev, who received a reported 84.5% of the vote, whilst leading opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli finished second with a reported 5.5% of the vote.

Electoral integrity refers to international standards and global norms governing the appropriate conduct of elections.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Georg Link</span> German politician

Michael Georg Link is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FPD) who has served a member of the Bundestag from 2005 to 2013 and again since 2017. In addition to his parliamentary work, he has been serving as the Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation at the Federal Foreign Office in the coalition government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz since 2022.

Christian Strohal is an Austrian diplomat. He was formerly the director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights from 2003 to 2008.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matteo Mecacci</span> Italian diplomat (born 1975)

Matteo Mecacci is an Italian diplomat serving as director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR). In the past, he was a Radical Party Member of Parliament in Italy and elected in the lists of the Democratic Party, President of the International Campaign for Tibet and leading advocate for the International Criminal Court, the abolition of the death penalty, religious freedom and other prominent human rights campaigns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Audrey Glover</span> British international lawyer, election observer, DBE

Dame Audrey Francis Glover,, is a British international lawyer, experienced election observer, former director of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (1994-1997).

Katarzyna Gardapkhadze - current CEO of the Responsible Leadership Academy and a former First Deputy Director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), in the post from September 2016 until 30 June 2021. In 2020, during a period without a politically appointed Director, she served as ODIHR's Director's Alternate.

The Moscow Mechanism, established in 1991, is a confidence and security-building measure among the 57 participating States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It complements and strengthens the Vienna mechanism, adopted in 1989. The two tools together constitute the so-called Human Dimension Mechanisms.


  1. "Matteo Mecacci appointed Director of OSCE/ODIHR". Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  2. "Democracy and Human Rights in the OSCE" (PDF). Warsaw: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 2021.
  3. Donovan Slack (November 6, 2012). "International Observers Blocked From Polls". . A group of international electoral observers has been blocked from polling places in nine states and has had to take precautions in the face of security threats.