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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
www.csce.gov
July 17, 2008

U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON KAZAKHSTAN’S COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIZATION REFORM


(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, “Promises to Keep: Kazakhstan’s 2010 OSCE Chairmanship,” on Tuesday, July 22 at 3:00 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

This is the second in a series of hearings that will be held on Kazakhstan as the country is preparing for the Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010. Kazakhstan’s bid to lead the organization was controversial because of its record on human rights and democratic reforms. Last November, at the OSCE Summit in Madrid, Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin pledged to implement a number of key reforms. The purpose of the hearing will be to assess the progress that has been made since then and to discuss how Washington can help Kazakhstan come into compliance with its commitments.

Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin recently led a bipartisan delegation to Kazakhstan, where they attended the 17th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The delegation also met with leading Kazakh officials including, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Karim Masimov, and Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev as well as with prominent human rights activists and opposition leaders.

WITNESSES

The Honorable Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State

The Honorable Askar Tazhiev, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Kazakhstan

Dr. Martha Olcott, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. Andrea Berg, Researcher on Central Asia, Human Rights Watch

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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Rep. Nancy Pelosi with Congressman Alcee L. Hastings