Helsinki Accords, a nonbinding agreement between the United States, Canada, Russia, and 49 other countries. It was originally signed by 35 countries at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), in Helsinki, Finland, in 1975. The signatories, known as members, affirmed their commitment to détente (relaxation of international tensions) and the peaceful settlement of international disputes. They recognized all European borders as inviolable and agreed to refrain from interfering in other nations' internal affairs. They also agreed to ease travel restrictions on people visiting family members across international borders; to promote scientific, cultural, and economic exchanges between nations; and to respect human rights. Until the late 1980's, however, the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries generally ignored the human-rights provisions.
Since 1975 members have met at various times to review progress toward the easing of East-West tensions. In 1990, after the collapse of Communism throughout most of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, the members signed the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, which proclaimed an end to the Cold War and established a headquarters for the CSCE in Prague. In 1994 the CSCE changed its name to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).