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Helsinki Commission to Examine Human Rights and Democracy Programs in the OSCE

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing to examine programs within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that focus on the development of human rights and democracy. The hearing will have a specific focus on the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and its role in monitoring elections in OSCE countries. The hearing will also commemorate the work of the ODIHR as it marks its 15th anniversary.

Advancing the Human Dimension in the OSCE

The Role of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
2:00 PM
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226

The ODIHR has played an important role over the last fifteen years in advancing human rights and the development of democracy in the OSCE participating States. ODIHR is engaged throughout the OSCE area in the fields of democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and promotion of the rule of law and has set the international standard for election observation. This hearing will examine the unique role played by the ODIHR in election observations and will address the current challenges faced by the OSCE as it seeks to define and strengthen the role the organization plays in election monitoring.

Panel I
Mr. Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Panel II
Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE

Panel III
Mr. Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

Mr. Jeff Fischer, Senior Director, Center for Transitional and Post-Conflict Governance, IFES

Mr. Patrick Merloe, Senior Associate and Director, Programs on Election Processes, National Democratic Institute

Mr. Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute

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