The HCNM’s mandate states that the High Commissioner should be an eminent international personality with long-standing relevant experience from whom an impartial performance of the function may be expected. The mandate draws heavily on the judgement, experience, and political and diplomatic sense of the appointed personality. In this sense, the acquired reputation and the personal traits of the High Commissioner are vitally important.
Astrid Thors is the current OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. She began her three-year mandate on 20 August 2013. Thors has been a Member of the Parliament of Finland since 2004. She also served as Minister of Migration and European Affairs of Finland and was a Member of the European Parliament.
There have been three previous High Commissioners. Max van der Stoel (The Netherlands) held the post from 1993 to 2001, Rolf Ekéus (Sweden) from 2001 to 2007 and Knut Vollebaek (Norway) from 2007 to 2013.