Human rights within states are crucial to security among states. Prioritizing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, defending the principles of liberty, and encouraging tolerance within societies must be at the forefront of America's foreign policy agenda. Peace, security, and prosperity cannot be sustained if national governments repress their citizens, stifle their media, or imprison members of the political opposition. Authoritarian regimes become increasingly unstable as citizens chafe under the bonds of persecution and violence, and pose a danger not only to their citizens, but also to neighboring nations. The Helsinki Commission strives to ensure that the protection of human rights and defense of democratic values are central to U.S. foreign policy; that they are applied consistently in U.S. relations with other countries; that violations of Helsinki provisions are given full consideration in U.S. policymaking; and that the United States holds those who repress their citizens accountable for their actions. This includes battling corruption; protecting the fundamental freedoms of all people, especially those who historically have been persecuted and marginalized; promoting the sustainable management of resources; and balancing national security interests with respect for human rights to achieve long-term positive outcomes rather than short-term gains.
Ireland has been an OSCE participating State since June 25, 1973; chaired the OSCE in 2012; and has periodically had its elections observed by the OSCE/ODIHR. Ireland is a parliamentary democracy that is a member of the European Union and Council of Europe member.
In addition to the Irish Foreign Minister appearing before the Helsinki Commission during the country's 2012 Chairmanship, the Commission has held several hearings on Northern Ireland. Commissioners have also visited Ireland on numerous occasions, including for OSCE and OSCE PA meetings. Ireland has had an increased OSCE and Commission focus in recent years as a result of issues related to security, the economic downturn, and migration.
Staff Contact: Mischa Thompson, senior policy advisor