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Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
www.csce.gov
September 9, 2008

HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON UPCOMING ELECTIONS IN BELARUS


(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, “Business as Usual? Belarus on the Eve of Elections,” on Tuesday, September 16 at 2:30 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will examine the state of democracy and human rights in Belarus and how the Belarusian authorities are complying with their election commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in advance of the September 28 parliamentary elections.

Last month, authorities released Belarus’ most prominent political prisoner, Alexander Kozulin, and two others, fulfilling a key demand of the United States and European Union. This, together with Belarusian leader Lukashenka’s unenthusiastic response to Russia’s aggression in Georgia also has raised a glimmer of possibility for an improvement in Belarus’ ties with the United States and European Union. Nevertheless, to date, there has been no appreciable progress in human rights and democracy in the run up to the elections.

WITNESSES

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

Mr. Stephen B. Nix, Regional Program Director, Eurasia, International Republican Institute

Ms. Laura Jewett, Regional Director, Eurasia, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

Mr. Rodger Potocki, Director, Europe and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy


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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