Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
September 23, 2013
CHAIRMAN CARDIN ON OPENING OF EUROPE’S LARGEST HUMAN RIGHTS MEETING
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) released the following statement in advance of meetings in Warsaw, Poland, of the participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). From September 23-October 4, representatives will gather for a Human Dimension Implementation Meeting to discuss the participating States’ compliance with the full range of their OSCE human dimension commitments. There will be a special focus on freedom of religion or belief, elections, and freedoms of assembly and association.
"I am pleased that representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States are meeting in Warsaw to discuss the human rights commitments all of our countries have freely adopted by consensus. Most importantly, this meeting stands out for the opportunity it affords civil society to be heard. At a time when independent nongovernmental organizations are under threat in so many OSCE countries, it is critical that this human rights meeting preserves the opportunity for NGOs to participate fully,” Senator Cardin said.
“I am encouraged that the United States is bringing a robust delegation to this meeting, headed by Ambassador Robert Bradtke and joined by the newly confirmed U.S. Head of Mission to the OSCE Ambassador Daniel Baer. I hope the U.S. delegation will encourage Ukraine to enhance its credentials as OSCE Chair-in-Office by releasing imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and undertaking other measures to reverse selective justice and strengthen the rule of law.”
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. 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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