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234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
www.csce.gov
Media Contact: Shelly Han
202.225.1901
February 25, 2014

HEARING ON OSCE


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

Switzerland’s Leadership of the OSCE

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10:00 a.m.

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

Scheduled to testify: His Excellency Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation, Foreign Minister and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE


Please click here at the start of the hearing to view the webcast.

President of the Swiss Confederation and Foreign Minister, His Excellency Didier Burkhalter, will testify before the Helsinki Commission in his capacity as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The hearing takes place at the beginning of Switzerland’s 2014 chairmanship of the 57-country OSCE, which is based in Vienna, Austria and best known for its work in promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

President Burkhalter is expected to discuss the Chairmanship-in-Office’s priorities and provide insights regarding the ongoing work of the OSCE.  Switzerland’s chairmanship comes at an important time in the development of an organization that operates on the basis of consensus and includes countries ranging from democracies to dictatorships. The OSCE region is facing challenges ranging from backsliding on human rights in some countries to the political crisis and recent violence in Ukraine.

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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.



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Rep. Smith with witnesses at a Northern Ireland hearing. March 16, 2011.