Media Contact: Elizabeth Pryor
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing on the Dutch leadership of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) featuring the testimony of His Excellency Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Foreign Minister of The Netherlands and Chair-in-Office of the OSCE.
The Dutch Leadership of the OSCE
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM
562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
His Excellency Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Foreign Minister of The Netherlands
The Netherlands assumed its one-year chairmanship of the OSCE in January 2003. The hearing will review the work of the OSCE under the Dutch Chairmanship. Specific issues expected to be discussed are the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, the deteriorating situation in Belarus, OSCE efforts to combat anti-Semitism and human trafficking, as well as promoting respect for human rights and democratic values in the participating States.
Following the adoption of the Charter on Terrorism at the 2002 Porto meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, the Dutch Chairmanship has focused its efforts on enhancing security and stability by bringing attention to developments in Central Asia and promoting concrete efforts to confront terrorism, organized crime and trafficking in human beings, drugs and arms, and renewed efforts to resolve the so-called "frozen conflicts" in the Caucasus and the ongoing conflict in Chechnya.
The hearing will be held in advance of the OSCE Ministerial Council scheduled for Maastricht, December 1-2, 2003. The Ministerial will be an opportunity to assess efforts in the war on terrorism, as well as combating organized crime and trafficking and developing strategies for continued action by the OSCE participating States in the face of new threats to security and stability.
The OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world with 55 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. The OSCE approach to security deals with a wide range of security-related issues including arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence-and-security-building measures, human rights, democratization, election monitoring and economic and environmental security. All 55 OSCE participating States have equal status and decisions are based on consensus.
The OSCE has deployed more than twenty missions and field activities located in Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It works on the ground to facilitate political processes, prevent or settle conflicts, and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission's Internet web site at http://www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the hearing.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.