The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights is led by Ambassador Janez Lenarčič of Slovenia, who became Director in July 2008. He is responsible for directing the Office's day-to-day activities and determining its long-term policy.
The primary building blocks of the Office are the Elections, Democratization, Human Rights, and Tolerance and Non-discrimination departments, as well as the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues.
While ODIHR's Elections Department receives most attention for its work in the field of election observation, it is also engaged in technical-assistance projects, including the review of election-related legislation and the promotion of domestic observer groups throughout the OSCE region.
The Democratization Department focuses on rule of law, equal participation in political and public life, promoting democratic governance, freedom of movement, and providing legislative support.
Human Rights Department
The Human Rights Department conducts activities in a broad range of interrelated issues, including the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, promoting human rights in the fight against terrorism, publicizing information about the use of the death penalty, monitoring trials, and conducting training and education programmes in the area of human rights.
Tolerance and Non-discrimination Department
The Tolerance and Non-discrimination Department is the newest part of ODIHR. It was established in 2004 in response to new tasks assigned in this field regarding violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, as well as to manifestations of hate and intolerance.
Contact Point on Roma and Sinti Issues
The Contact Point on Roma and Sinti Issues promotes the inclusion of Roma and related groups in the societies in which they live. It also engages governments on policy issues related to Roma and has also been active both in providing early warning of potential conflicts and in mediating once a conflict has developed.
Altogether, there are approximately 130 staff members employed at ODIHR, who bring a wealth of experience from more than 25 different countries from throughout the OSCE region. Though they are engaged in diverse activities, they share the common goal and commitment of improving the lives of all individuals in the 57 OSCE participating States through the protection of human rights, the advancement of rule of law and democratic institutions, and the promotion of democratic elections.