Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights


The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) was created in 1991 as the main institution of the Human Dimension, and is based in Warsaw, Poland. ODIHR areas of programmatic work include:


Democratic Elections


Since its establishment in 1991, ODIHR has become the international “gold standard” institution in developing a systematic methodology for assessing election standards and evaluating all stages of the electoral process, including: election law and administration, the registration of candidates, the campaign, campaign finance, media coverage the actual voting process, and the counting of ballots and determination of outcomes.


Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (OSCE)

Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (OSCE)

In addition to recruiting election observers, it often works closely with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Parliament and NATO parliamentary assembly. ODIHR observes most major elections for parliament and heads of state in in OSCE’ 57 pS. It also engages in follow-up with states on recommendations it has made during its election observation mission. 


ODIHR has observed elections in over 50 out of its 57 pS, fielding thousands of seconded observers.


The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM)


The first HDIM was held in 1993 in Warsaw, Poland where over 380 participants discussed and reviewed the then 53 pS' implementation of the full range of OSCE Human Dimension (HD) commitments.


The Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIMs) organized by ODIHR - bring together hundreds of society representatives, government officials, international experts, civil and human rights activists, and Partners for Co-operation, to take stock of how the OSCE states are implementing their HD commitments on the core values that promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They discuss current issues, challenges in implementation, share promising practices and make recommendations for further improvement.


It is notable that the representatives from civil society and governments sit side by side as equals at the HDIM, which is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference.