The High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) heads an institution of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The post was created in 1992 to identify and seek early resolution of ethnic tensions that could endanger peace, stability or friendly relations between the 57 OSCE participating States. Since then, “Integration with respect for diversity” has driven the work of successive High Commissioners in their continuous efforts to combat segregation and build bridges between communities.
The post is described in the mandate of the HCNM as “an instrument of conflict prevention at the earliest possible stage.” This means that the High Commissioner works to address the long-term causes of inter‑ethnic tensions as well as trying to contain and de-escalate urgent situations. The High Commissioner works to ease tensions involving national minorities that could lead to conflict within the OSCE area. The High Commissioner also provides the OSCE with “early warnings” if ethnic tensions threaten to develop into conflict.
Since 19 July 2020, Christophe Kamp is Director and Officer-in-Charge of the office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities until the appointment of the next High Commissioner on National Minorities, foreseen in December 2020. For insights into the thematic work of the successive High Commissioners see our series of short animated videos (in 8 languages) on youtube and on the OSCE HCNM website.