Title

Religious Freedom Violations in OSCE Region Topic of Upcoming Helsinki Commission Briefing

Thursday, November 09, 2017

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

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS IN THE OSCE REGION:
VICTIMS AND PERPETRATORS

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
2:00PM
Russell Senate Office Building 
Room 385

Live Webcast: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission

All 57 participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have committed to recognize and respect religious freedom as a fundamental freedom. However, some OSCE countries are among the worst perpetrators of religious freedom violations in the world.

Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are currently designated by the U.S. State Department as “Countries of Particular Concern,” a designation required by U.S. law for governments that have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that Russia also be designated as a CPC and includes Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkey in its list of “Tier 2” countries that “require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by governments.”

This briefing will happen just two days after CPC designations are due on November 13 (U.S. law requires the State Department to issue new CPC designations no later than 90 days after releasing its annual International Religious Freedom report). Panelists – including a representative from a frequently targeted religious group – will discuss religious freedom victims, violators, and violations in the OSCE region. The conversation will include recommendations for what governments and the OSCE institutionally should do to prevent and respond to violations. The intersection between security, a chronic justification for violations, and religious freedom will be featured.

The following panelists will offer brief remarks, followed by questions:

  • Ambassador Michael Kozak, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
  • Dr. Daniel Mark, Chairman, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Dr. Kathleen Collins, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota, and Scholar, Under Caesar’s Sword (a global three-year research project investigating how Christian communities respond when their religious freedom is severely violated)
  • Philip Brumley, General Counsel, Jehovah’s Witnesses

 

Media contact: 
Name: 
Stacy Hope
Email: 
csce[dot]press[at]mail[dot]house[dot]gov
Phone: 
202.225.1901
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