Working Group on Fundamental Freedoms

The working group was established to coordinate the efforts of civil society groups to monitor and analyze violations of fundamental human rights across the OSCE region, with an emphasis on identifying parallel trends and opportunities to take action to strengthen respect for fundamental human rights standards. The working group will focus particular attention on those rights that are necessary for human rights defenders and other members of civil society to function freely, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression.

The working group will monitor and assess governments’ respect for these fundamental rights and will publish reports, appeals and statements detailing violations and making recommendations to remedy abuse and improve rights protection. It will coordinate civil society groups’ responses to rights violations and help to strengthen groups’ capacity to advocate for fundamental rights in their own countries and at the international level.

With special attention to the rights of human rights defenders, the working group will endeavor to highlight publicly the importance of human rights work, improve the image of rights defenders in the region and in specific countries where they are at risk, and actively support solidarity campaigns on behalf of human rights defenders. In all its efforts, the working group will network with other actors working on fundamental rights in the region.

Looking forward to the expansion of rights protections under domestic and international law, the working group will not only promote existing human rights standards in order to prevent their erosion and highlight their continued importance, but will also advocate for new rights commitments to be incorporated into national and international rights frameworks.