Language Matters: If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant….

If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything. 

OSCE Warsaw 2013: Biased Terms Must Be Abandoned

Posted on  by /Gates of Vienna

At Session 1 on “Tolerance and Non-Discrimination”, Warsaw, September 24, 2013, the following Intervention was read by Stephen Coughlin.

Mr. Coughlin is representing the Center for Security Policy at the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting.

In case you don’t know who Stephen Couglin is, watch this video:

Stephen Coughlin, Part 5: The Role of the OIC in Enforcing Islamic Law

While we appreciate the width and the severity of topics discussed here, the Center for Security Policy sees a need to object to the use of terms which are undefined, ill-defined, or defined by non-OSCE entities and whose purpose is to stigmatize, marginalize, and intimidate those holding dissenting opinions.

Examples include, but are not limited to; “intolerance”, “discrimination”, “racism”, “hate”, “xenophobia”, and “Islamophobia” without reference to any underlying claims or facts.

The use of controversial undefined terms to attack citizens has been a notorious strategy employed by oppressive and totalitarian political regimes seeking to silence dissent.

CSP recommends that the OSCE and ODIHR suspend this practice until a published definition of terms is provided that meets EU Human Rights and U.S. Civil Rights scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and attention.

OSCE Warsaw 2013: CSP’s Intervention On the Use of Undefined Terms

Posted on  by   (GoV)



Here is the intervention read by Stephen Coughlin representing the Center for Security Policy at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 1 “Tolerance and Non-Discrimination”, Warsaw, September 23, 2013:

This intervention concerns the Annotated Agenda which makes generous use of the term “aggressive nationalism”.

CSP would like a clarification of the term “aggressive nationalism.” Is there such a thing as “non-aggressive nationalism”? Is any assertion of national identity per se aggressive?

In addition, words such as “racism”, “xenophobia”, “intolerance”, and “discrimination” are biased terms that are not adequately defined. CSP is of the opinion that their purpose is to shut down debate by stigmatizing, marginalizing, and intimidating people who hold certain opinions. These words should be avoided unless they can be defined in such a manner that enjoys the consensus of all participants regardless of their political, social and cultural views.

Recommendation to ODIHR and participating States

  • To refrain from using these terms until they are precisely and officially defined and accepted by the consensus of all participating groups holding diverse views.