234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
September 17, 2008


(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Co-Chairmen of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), will hold a hearing entitled, “The Role of OSCE Institutions in Advancing Human Rights and Democracy” on Wednesday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

For over three decades the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been at the forefront of efforts to promote human rights and democracy in the expansive OSCE region, now comprising 56 countries. Since the early 1990s, the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and Parliamentary Assembly have played leading roles in advancing this important work.

The hearing will examine the unique role played by each of these institutions, their contributions to strengthening human rights, and the challenges they face as some countries seek to curtail the organization’s work. Among issues expected to be discussed are Russia’s invasion and occupation of Georgia, the upheaval following Armenia’s elections earlier this year, and the abuse of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The ODIHR and OSCE PA plan to deploy monitors for the upcoming U.S. elections.


Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

Mr. R. Spencer Oliver, Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

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.


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Chairman Chris Smith and Co-Chairman Roger Wicker at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session in Baku, Azerbaijan. (June 2014)