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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
May 14, 2013


U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights


(Washington, DC) The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) today announced the following hearing:

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights:

Accomplishments and Challenges

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 

2:30 p.m.

Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 210/212 (Senate Side)

Scheduled to testify:

Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

For over two decades, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has been at the forefront of efforts to promote human rights and democracy throughout the OSCE region, now comprising 57 countries. Although probably best known for its election observation work, ODIHR conducts many other activities including reviewing countries’ legislation to ensure it is in accordance with international standards, strengthening the capacity of human rights defenders, assisting governments in combating hate crimes, working to strengthen independent judicial systems, and developing guidelines to support protection of freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.

The hearing will examine the unique role played by ODIHR, its contribution to strengthening human rights, and the challenges it faces. Among the issues expected to be discussed include: crackdowns on civil society in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union; anti-Semitism and discrimination in the OSCE region; challenges faced by Roma in various countries; recent and upcoming election observations; and protecting human rights in the fight against terrorism. 

This event is open to the public. Room SVC 210-212 is located on the Senate side of the Capitol Visitor Center, the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol.  You may enter on the north side, below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues (across the street from the Supreme Court). The closest metro stop is Capitol South (orange or blue line).

Please allow adequate time to clear through the security check.  On the lower level, visitors will need to show a picture ID at the Senate appointment desk before proceeding to the Senate rooms.

Map of the Capitol:

Map of the Visitor Center:




The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Shelly Han
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Co-Chairman Roger Wicker with Bill Browder, author of Red Notice. Courtesy of The McCain Institute for International Leadership. (Feb. 2015)