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.
A member of the OSCE Mediterranean Partners, Israel’s connection with the OSCE dates back to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. The Act recognized the close relationship between European Security and Mediterranean security, and in 1994 a contact group was formed to formally involve the southern Mediterranean countries with the OSCE. Israel has welcomed its partnership with the OSCE both as an opportunity to share best practices and as an important forum for regional cooperation.
In partnership with the OSCE and the International Organization for Migration, Israel hosted an international seminar on "The Critical Role of the Judiciary in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings" in Haifa in 2013. This seminar included judges from across the OSCE region and the Mediterranean Partners region.
Staff Contact: Bakhti Nishanov, senior policy advisor