OSCE Warsaw 2013: Biased Terms Must Be Abandoned

At Session 1 on “Tolerance and Non-Discrimination”, Warsaw, September 24, 2013, the following Intervention was read by Stephen Coughlin.

Mr. Coughlin is representing the Center for Security Policy at the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.

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While we appreciate the width and the severity of topics discussed here, the Center for Security Policy sees a need to object to the use of terms which are undefined, ill-defined, or defined by non-OSCE entities and whose purpose is to stigmatize, marginalize, and intimidate those holding dissenting opinions.

Examples include, but are not limited to; “intolerance”, “discrimination”, “racism”, “hate”, “xenophobia”, and “Islamophobia” without reference to any underlying claims or facts.

The use of controversial undefined terms to attack citizens has been a notorious strategy employed by oppressive and totalitarian political regimes seeking to silence dissent.

CSP recommends that the OSCE and ODIHR suspend this practice until a published definition of terms is provided that meets EU Human Rights and U.S. Civil Rights scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and attention.

8 thoughts on “OSCE Warsaw 2013: Biased Terms Must Be Abandoned

  1. This is a good suggestion. To my knowledge, things that have been agreed upon by the OSCE will have some effect in member countries – think of the late communist years. The question is how chances are that such a resolution will be passed? Does anyone have deeper insight into the OSCE’s mechanisms?

    • As of this point in time I can find no reference to the CSP or this recommendation (not a resolution yet, as far as I can make out) on the OSCA official website, only the opening speech by the EU head apparachik for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis. This does not mean that it will not a get a mention in the conference report when published but I am not holding my breath. We shall just have too wait and see.

      Rgds, S III

      • To be honest, I wasn’t too optimistic myself. I just meant to remember (I may be mistaken) that back in the days – ie the last 10 or so years of communism -, the OSCE appeared quite useful, in a sense that the resolutions passed there were actually tools for the better educated parts of the populations in the communist countries, during their daily struggle against their regimes.

        But sure, how should the general development in society have passed by exactly the OSCE…

  2. Are people here aware that on October 24th, the EU will vote on criminalizing not only’ Islamophobia’, but also ‘anti-feminism’?



    ““Group libel” means: defamatory comments made in public and aimed against a group as defined in paragraph (a) – or members thereof – with a view to inciting to violence, slandering the group, holding it to ridicule or subjecting it to false charges….

    … The purpose of this Statute is to: […]

    e) Take concrete action to combat intolerance, in particular with a view to eliminating racism, colour bias, ethnic discrimination, religious intolerance, totalitarian ideologies, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and homophobia.”


  4. Pingback: Language Matters: If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant…. — Winds Of Jihad By SheikYerMami

  5. Pingback: A Call to Eliminate Controversial Undefined Terms | Gates of Vienna

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