WASHINGTON – Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Co-Chairmen of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), will hold a hearing entitled, “Business as Usual? Belarus on the Eve of Elections,” on Tuesday, September 16 at 2:30 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing will examine the state of democracy and human rights in Belarus and how the Belarusian authorities are complying with their election commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in advance of the September 28 parliamentary elections.
Last month, authorities released Belarus’ most prominent political prisoner, Alexander Kozulin, and two others, fulfilling a key demand of the United States and European Union. This, together with Belarusian leader Lukashenka’s unenthusiastic response to Russia’s aggression in Georgia also has raised a glimmer of possibility for an improvement in Belarus’ ties with the United States and European Union. Nevertheless, to date, there has been no appreciable progress in human rights and democracy in the run up to the elections.
The Honorable David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Mr. Stephen B. Nix, Regional Program Director, Eurasia, International Republican Institute
Ms. Laura Jewett, Regional Director, Eurasia, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Mr. Rodger Potocki, Director, Europe and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy