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Armenia

Armenia joined the OSCE in 1992 shortly after gaining its independence from the Soviet Union.

Yerevan hosted an OSCE field office from February 16, 2000 until its closure in August 31, 2017 when the Government of Azerbaijan denied the consensus required to renew the office’s mandate. Until that point, the OSCE office had helped Armenian government institutions and civil society develop their capacity to address topics such as corruption, trafficking, environmental protection, human rights, media freedom, gender equality, and law enforcement.

The OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institution and Human Rights continues to observe national elections in Armenia. Since a popular protest movement overthrew the country’s long-serving ruling party in 2018, ODIHR has played a larger role in advising the new government on strengthening Armenia’s democratic institutions and improving the competitiveness and administration of its elections.

Armenia has been at war with neighboring Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh since 1992. The United States serves alongside France and Russia as a co-chair of the OSCE-led Minsk Group process, which aims to facilitate a negotiated resolution to the conflict. A small team of OSCE monitors led by the “Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office on the Conflict Dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference” regularly visits the line of contact between the sides and documents violations of the 1994 ceasefire that was agreed after Armenia occupied Nagorno Karabakh and all or part of seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories.

Armenia has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001. In 2015, Yerevan joined the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, freezing its prospects of an association agreement with the European Union as part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative. In 2017, Armenia and the EU signed a comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement.

Staff Contact: Michael Cecire, senior policy advisor

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Hearings

Sweden’s Leadership of the OSCE

Jun 11, 2021

In 2021, Sweden chairs the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—which comprises 57 participating States stretching from North America, across Europe, and to Central Asia and Mongolia. Even as the OSCE begins to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is tackling other critical challenges, including Russia’s ongoing […]

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Press Releases

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde to Appear at Hels...

Jun 03, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following online hearing: SWEDEN’S LEADERSHIP OF THE OSCE Priorities for 2021 Friday, June 11, 2021 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Watch Live: https://www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission In 2021, Sweden chairs the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation […]

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Commemorates 45 Years of Advanci...

Jun 03, 2021

WASHINGTON—To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, on June 3, Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and commission leaders Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) and Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statements: “The Helsinki Commission has played a vital role in elevating […]

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In the News

Corruption Is a National Security Threat. The CROOK ...

Mar 23, 2021

Not long ago, America’s greatest adversaries were bound together by communist ideology. Today, they most often are defined by political corruption—authoritarian leaders using the levers of government to enrich themselves and ward off political opponents. Corrupt leaders cling to power through patronage networks and exploit rule-of-law jurisdictions, like the United States, to conceal and protect […]

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Articles

Ten-Member Congressional Delegation Demonstrates Ong...

Mar 05, 2021

By Bob Hand, Senior Policy Advisor Approximately 270 parliamentarians from across the OSCE region gathered virtually from February 24 – 26 for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Winter Meeting, the first statutory meeting of the Assembly held since the COVID-19 pandemic limited inter-parliamentary diplomacy to online gatherings.  The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on security, the economy, […]

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Articles

OSCE Ministerial Council Appoints Top Leaders, Adopt...

Dec 21, 2020

By Shannon Simrell, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Foreign ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States convened on December 3 – 4, 2020, for the 27th OSCE Ministerial Council. For the first time, this annual gathering was convened in an entirely virtual format due to the challenges posed […]

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest: December 2020

Dec 21, 2020

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest: October 2020

Oct 29, 2020

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Press Releases

Hastings, Wicker, and Hudson Call For De-Escalation ...

Sep 29, 2020

WASHINGTON—After a major outbreak of violence between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces Sunday in Nagorno-Karabakh, Helsinki Commission leaders Chairman Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Co-Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), and Commissioner Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08) deplored the loss of life on both sides and called for the immediate cessation of violence and resumption of negotiations. “I […]

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Press Releases

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to Appear at Helsin...

Sep 09, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following online hearing: ALBANIA’S CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE OSCE Responding to the Multiple Challenges of 2020 Thursday, September 17, 2020 1:00 p.m. Watch Live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission In 2020, Albania holds the chairmanship of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization […]

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Publications

Human Rights and Democracy in a Time of Pandemic

May 12, 2020

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted governments around the world to take extraordinary measures in the interest of public health and safety. As of early April, nearly two-thirds of the 57 participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had declared “states of emergency” or invoked similar legal measures […]

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Press Releases

Chairman Hastings on Anniversaries of Sumgait Pogrom...

Feb 27, 2020

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20) yesterday issued a floor statement on the anniversaries of the Sumgait Pogrom and the Khojaly Massacre, two pivotal tragedies in the in the decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh. The statement reads in part: “Although separated by four years and 200 […]

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