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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
May 22, 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), issued the following statement welcoming the appointment of Ambassador Janez Lenarcic of Slovenia as the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) human rights body. Ambassador Lenarcic was appointed by the OSCE Ministerial Council to be the Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), where he will assume the position on July 1 for a three-year term:

“We welcome the appointment of Ambassador Lenarcic as the Director of ODIHR. Ambassador Lenarcic’s leadership of the Permanent Council on behalf of the Slovenian Chairmanship and his ability demonstrated in bridging gaps and forging consensus was no doubt key in the decision of participating States to entrust him with this important position.

“The Helsinki Commission has a long tradition of working closely with the ODIHR, and we look forward to continuing this tradition. Most recently, the Commission was a strong supporter of developing OSCE’s work on Tolerance issues, including the establishment of ODIHR’s Tolerance Unit and programs on combating anti-Semitism. We laud the work being done in this area and will continue to support its programs and goals,” said Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin.

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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