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.
Democracy in Central & Eastern Europe Focus of Upcoming Helsinki Commission Briefing
WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following briefing:
DEMOCRACY IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE:
RENEWING THE PROMISE OF DEMOCRATIC TRANSITIONS
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Capitol Visitors Center
Live Webcast: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission
In 1990, at a moment of historic transition, the countries of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe adopted a watershed agreement recognizing the relationship between political pluralism and market economies. To advance both, they committed to fundamental principles regarding democracy, free elections, and the rule of law.
In recent years, however, concerns have emerged about the health of the democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the face of ongoing governance challenges and persistent corruption.
At this briefing, speakers will examine the current state of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and analyze efforts to address the region’s challenges. They will also discuss the declaration adopted on June 1 by civil society representatives, members of business communities, and others, which seeks to reinvigorate the region’s democratic trajectory, support democratic and economic reform, and strengthen the transatlantic partnership.
The following panelists are scheduled to speak:
- Andrew Wilson, Managing Director, Center for International Private Enterprise
- Peter Golias, Director, Institute for Economic and Social Reforms, Slovakia
- Andras Loke, Chair, Transparency International, Hungary
- Marek Tatala, Vice-President, Civil Development Forum, Poland
Additional comments will be provided by:
- Jan Surotchak, Regional Director for Europe, International Republican Institute
- Jonathan Katz, Senior Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund