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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
July 24, 2008


(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, “Human Rights and Democratization in Azerbaijan.” The hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 29 at 3:00 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Azerbaijan has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and plays a pivotal role in diversifying sources of energy. A moderate Muslim country, Azerbaijan enjoys good relations with the United States. On human rights, however, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe have numerous concerns, including freedom of the media, political prisoners and the conduct of elections.

With an upcoming presidential contest in October, Azerbaijan has an opportunity to hold an election that meets OSCE commitments, as well as implement other reforms. The hearing will examine the state of human rights and democratization in Azerbaijan and discuss how U.S. – Azerbaijan cooperation could help promote advances.


The Honorable David Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

His Excellency Yashar Aliyev, Ambassador, Republic of Azerbaijan

Mr. Christopher Walker, Director of Studies, Freedom House

**Additional witnesses may be added

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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