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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
April 3, 2008


Hearing Will Focus on Humanitarian Relief, Resettlement, Security Implications for the Region and Beyond

(Washington, D.C.) 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 entitled “OSCE Partner States and Neighbors Overwhelmed by Iraqi Refugees: Band-aid Solutions to Implosion in the Middle East?”, on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

The hearing will focus on the impact of the massive displacement of Iraqi citizens on Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Turkey as well as other countries in the region; the security implications of this humanitarian crisis; and efforts by the United States and others to address the plight of Iraqi refugees, including humanitarian relief, resettlement of Iraqi refugees, host country commitments, European cooperation as well as a long-term plan to address this crisis. The hearing comes on the heels of General David Petraeus’ and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker’s testimony before Congress about the Iraq war.

Chairman Hastings, who is Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs for the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, has introduced comprehensive legislation to address this humanitarian and security crisis. In January, Chairman Hastings and Congressman John Dingell wrote to President Bush requesting an additional $1.5 billion in funding for assistance to Iraqi refugees in the FY 2009 budget. They also wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in February, calling on her to develop a long-term plan to address the plight of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs).

Testifying before the Commission will be:

Panel I –

Ambassador James Foley, Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugees, U.S. Department of State

Ms. Lori Scialabba, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security for Iraqi Refugees, Department of Homeland Security

Panel II –

Mr. Michel Gabaudan, Washington Director, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Mr. Anders Lago, Mayor of Sodertalje, Sweden – The city of Sodertalje has a population of 83, 000 and has taken in more than 5,000 Iraqi refugees.

Mr. Noel Saleh, Member, Board of Directors, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) – Created in 1971 by a group of volunteers in Dearborn, Michigan, ACCESS assists the Arab immigrant population adapt to life in America and has been integral in assisting Iraqi refugees who have resettled in the United States.

WHAT: U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on the Iraqi Refugee Crisis

WHEN: Thursday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: 1100 Longworth House Office Building

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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Citizenship and Political Rights
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Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
International Humanitarian Law
Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons
National Minorities
OSCE Institutions/Structures/Meetings
Prevention of Torture
Property Restitution


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