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Refugees from Syria and Iraq Arrive in Greece | Copyright Georgios Giannopoulos

Helsinki Commission Announces Hearing to Examine Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Officials from State Department, UNHCR, European Union to Testify

Europe is experiencing an enormous refugee crisis. An estimated half a million migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2015; as many as 50 percent are Syrian refugees.  Thousands more join them each day, and many of the European nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are struggling to cope.

As the regional security organization in Europe, how can the OSCE use its tools, standards, and commitments to help manage the humanitarian crisis and ensure that security and economic challenges are addressed? What has the US government done, and what should it be doing? The hearing will examine the reasons for the current crisis; relevant OSCE and other European agreements, commitments, and structures; the response of the OSCE, the EU, and the US; potential security issues related to the ability of extremists to infiltrate the refugee stream; and the potential for refugees to become victims of human trafficking.

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

“Europe’s Refugee Crisis: How Should the US, EU, and OSCE Respond?”

Tuesday, October 20
2:00PM
Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2200

Live Webcast: http://bit.ly/1VRaf3G

Europe is experiencing an enormous refugee crisis. An estimated half a million migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2015; as many as 50 percent are Syrian refugees.  Thousands more join them each day, and many of the European nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are struggling to cope.

As the regional security organization in Europe, how can the OSCE use its tools, standards, and commitments to help manage the humanitarian crisis and ensure that security and economic challenges are addressed? What has the US government done, and what should it be doing? The hearing will examine the reasons for the current crisis; relevant OSCE and other European agreements, commitments, and structures; the response of the OSCE, the EU, and the US; potential security issues related to the ability of extremists to infiltrate the refugee stream; and the potential for refugees to become victims of human trafficking.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

Panel One

  • Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State

Panel Two

  • Mr. Shelly Pitterman, Regional Representative to the United States and Caribbean, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • His Excellency David O’Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States
  • His Excellency Djerdj Matkovic, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the United States
  • Mr. Sean Callahan, Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Relief Services

 

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