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Helsinki Commission to Probe Threats to Religious Freedom and Rule of Law in Europe and Eurasia

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing:

“Update on the OSCE: Religious Freedom, Anti-Semitism, and Rule of Law”

February 11, 2015
1:00PM
House Visitor’s Center (HVC)
Room 210


Live Webcast: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest regional security body. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) spearheads the OSCE’s work in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and the rule of law.

At the hearing, ODIHR Director Michael Georg Link will testify to current efforts by ODIHR, the OSCE, and countries in the region to battle rising anti-Semitism and promote and protect religious freedom; respond to the European refugee crisis; and to address anti-democratic government crackdowns, including in Crimea and other occupied territories of eastern Ukraine, as well as in Azerbaijan and Central Asia.

More than 40 years ago, the OSCE adopted a comprehensive definition of security, recognizing that human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are part of security, along with military security, disarmament, and border issues. Participating states made commitments covering political-military matters, economics, and human rights and fundamental freedoms.  

ODIHR aids the 57 OSCE participating States in fully meeting their OSCE commitments to human rights and fundamental freedoms; abiding by the rule of law; promoting principles of democracy; building, strengthening, and protect democratic institutions; and promoting tolerance throughout their societies.


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Chairman Chris Smith meets with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)