The OSCE security concept is a theoretical and operational framework based on the idea that international and domestic security depend on principles guiding three areas: how States deal with each other and resolve problems; the protection and promotion of individual rights within States; and the processes to develop, implement, and advance agreements regarding the principles. The OSCE security concept is based on principles that OSCE States began to develop in 1975 with the Helsinki Final Act, and continued to develop over the next decades and into the 21st century.
This brief identifies and articulates the OSCE security principles by analyzing a series of official documents adopted by the OSCE States from 1975 to 2001. The concept was described in greater length in the CISSM monograph, OSCE Principles in Practice, which also tested the practical application of the principles in three case studies. The monograph then extended the research on OSCE principles to express an OSCE security concept.
As a concept based on principles developed by democratic States, the OSCE security concept has significant policy implications. One highlighted in this brief is that international security cannot be achieved without the protection and promotion of individual rights and freedoms.