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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
October 11, 2007


(Washington, DC) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), will hold a hearing on Tuesday, October 16 at 10:00 a.m. in 210 of the Cannon House Office Building. The hearing entitled, “Kazakhstan’s Bid to Chair the OSCE: A Fundamental Right or a Foolhardy Ambition?” will focus on Kazakhstan’s bid to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2009.

Oil rich Kazakhstan’s ambition to be OSCE Chair-in-Office has been controversial ever since it was put forward in 2003. Consensus could not be reached last year because of concerns about ongoing problems with democratization and human rights in Kazakhstan. In November, the 56 member states of the OSCE are expected to decide the issue.

The following witnesses will testify at the hearing:

His Excellency Erlan A. Idrissov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan

Mr. David Merkel, former Director for Central Asia, National Security Council

Dr. Robert Herman, Director of Programs, Freedom House, representing a broad coalition of human rights groups

Mr. Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director, the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law

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: Lale Mamaux
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