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Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
June 7, 2006


Witnesses to Testify on Status of Human
Rights, Democracy and Integration

(Washington) – Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, announce that on June 15th the Commission will hold a hearing to discuss many of the human rights challenges that countries in South Central Europe face as they seek integration into the European Union and/or NATO Alliance.
The primary topics to be discussed include legal restrictions on religious activities and other attacks on religious freedom, lagging efforts to combat trafficking in persons, discrimination and violence against Roma, and the prevalence of official corruption and organized crime.  In addition, witnesses at the hearing are expected to address:
 - efforts to encourage Bosnia-Herzegovina to move beyond the limitations imposed by the Dayton Peace      Agreement despite the recent defeat of a constitutional reform package, and to facilitate further returns;
 - the plight of the displaced and minority communities of Kosovo within the context of Kosovo's status negotiations, and what steps are needed to preclude renewed violence and foster interethnic tolerance;
 - the need for Serbia to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and deal more effectively with the nationalist legacy of the Milosevic years;
 - the implications of Montenegro’s recent declaration of independence;
 - the prospects for the July 5 parliamentary elections in Macedonia to meet international standards;
 - progress in implementing the Ohrid Agreement in Macedonia;
 - consolidating democratic change and the rule of law in Croatia; and
 - enhancing anti-corruption and rule of law efforts in Albania.

                                  “Human Rights, Democracy, and Integration in South Central Europe"
Thursday, June 15, 2006
 2:00 p.m.
 2226 Rayburn House Office Building
Panel I
The Honorable Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasia Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Panel II
Daniel Serwer, Director of Peace and Stability Operations, United States Institute of Peace
Janusz Bugajski, Director of the New European Democracies Project and Senior Fellow in the Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Joseph K. Grieboski, President and Founder, Institute for Religion and Public Policy
Nicolae Gheorghe, Senior Advisor, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the 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 or Mark Kearney
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Bosnia and Herzegovina


Citizenship and Political Rights
Combating Corruption
Conflict Prevention/Rehabilitation
Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons
National Minorities
Rule of Law/Independence of Judiciary
Trafficking in Human Beings


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Chairman Chris Smith (L), Bill Browder, author of Red Notice, and David Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedom at the McCain Institute. Courtesy of The McCain Institute for International Leadership. (Feb. 2015)