The Handbook is the product of a research project initiated in January 2005 and conducted by DCAF in cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Inspired by the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, the manual presents an overview of legislation, policies and mechanisms within the OSCE region, outlining models or ‘best practices’ of how military structures can successfully integrate human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The handbook focuses on the internal aspects of human rights and fundamental freedoms of armed forces personnel, and not on the external aspects of this issue – the conduct of the armed forces in their operations. At the same time, limitations on human rights and fundamental freedoms of armed forces personnel are taken into account given the requirements of maintaining national security. The project aims to contribute to the enforcement of existing standards and it also contains recommendations for participating States of measures that should be taken in order to ensure that policies and practices are in full compliance with international human rights standards and OSCE human dimension commitments.
The handbook is aimed at all individuals who play a role in promoting, protecting, and enforcing human rights, such as parliamentarians, government officials, policy makers, military personnel, judges, professional military associations, and non-governmental organizations.