(Washington)--The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing on the human rights situation in each of the six "Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation" states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Democracy and Human Rights in the
Mediterranean Partner States of the OSCE
Friday, October 3
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
Joe Stork, Washington Director of the Middle East and North Africa division, Human Rights Watch
Karen Hanrahan, Director of Advocacy for Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International
Frank Smyth, Washington representative, Committee to Protect Journalists
Since its inception, the Conference, now, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has included a Mediterranean dimension. Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia are currently designated as Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, a special status similar to that of observer status in other multilateral organizations. Lebanon, Libya, and Syria had status in the OSCE through the mid-1990s.
As "Partners" none of the countries is obligated to implement the extensive body of OSCE human rights commitments contained in the Helsinki Final Act and other documents. Representatives of these countries may attend Council of Minister meetings, review conferences, regular meetings with the Troika and, on a case-by-case basis, to seminars and other ad hoc meetings in which they have an interest.
The Commission briefing will take place in advance of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Forum on the Mediterranean to be held in Rome, Italy, on October 11. One of the sessions at the Rome Forum will be devoted to democracy and human rights. Experts will assess democratic developments and human rights in the Mediterranean Partners.
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 briefing.
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.