Civil Society Roundtable Side Event prior to the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting: The Role of National Institutions against Discrimination in combating Racism and Xenophobia with a special focus on Persons belonging to National Minorities and Migrants, Vienna, 29-30 May 2008

The Civil Society Roundtable took place Thursday, 29 May from 9:00 to 13:00 in Vienna. The roundtable was organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

The purpose of the meeting was to:

  • provide civil society with an opportunity to prepare recommendations, which will be presented at the opening of the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting;
  • discuss current issues and priorities related to the role of national institutions against discriminations;
  • exchange information on best practices;
  • facilitate and enhance coalition-building across diverse communities and civil society groups throughout the OSCE region.


The recommendations developed during the Civil Society Roundtable Side Event were presented at the opening of the Seminar. Following the format of similar recommendations adopted during previous Tolerance Implementation Meetings, the final document with recommendations was twofold and included:

  • areas of concern;
  • concrete recommendations to the participating States, the OSCE, and civil society
In order to strengthen the involvement of civil society in the framework of the Meeting, the recommendations addressed the following topics:

  • what are the prospects and challenges of partnerships between national institutions and civil society?
  • which challenges face national institutions in fulfilling all aspects of their mandate? Are there any tensions between legal support work, assistance to victims and monitoring, awareness-raising, and promotion of policy and legal reform?
  • how can national institutions best identify and tackle systemic and structural discriminations?
  • how to increase the effectiveness of national institutions with regards to particularly vulnerable groups?

Process of adopting the recommendations

Participants at the Civil Society Roundtable Side Event were encouraged to submit recommendations beforehand. A compilation of recommendations were made available for consultation on this website one week before the Meeting. The recommendations were discussed and finalized during the roundtable.

Links to recommendations from previous civil society preparatory meetings can also be found on this page as well as links to more general information.

Key documents
Background note : overview of OSCE commitments and recommendations from key OSCE events in 2005/2006 in the area of tolerance and non-discrimination
7 June 2007
Ministerial Council Decision no. 13/06 : combating intolerance and discrimination and promoting mutual respect and understanding
5 December 2006