Toggle navigation menu.
Helsinki Default Banner

Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East Focus of Helsinki Commission Hearing

Washington – The United States Helsinki Commission will hold the following hearing:

“The Middle East:  Would the Helsinki Process Apply?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

2:30 – 4:30 PM

334 Cannon House Office Building

As the United States and the international community – especially the G-8, NATO and the European Union – explore avenues for advancing democracy and human rights in the broader Middle East region, some have suggested that the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and related institutions could serve as useful models for promoting reforms in that region.  A provision of the 1994 bilateral treaty between Israel and Jordan actually envisioned the possibility of creation of a Helsinki-like framework for the Middle East. 

The Final Act, a politically binding agreement, included specific provisions on military security, economic cooperation, and human rights. Many credit the Helsinki Process with contributing to the end of the Cold War and dramatic political, social and economic change in Europe and Eurasia.  Today, 55 countries from Europe, Eurasia, and North America, including the United States, are signatory members of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).        

Could this model be used by countries of the broader Middle East region, including Israel, to ease tensions and provide a viable framework for promoting cooperation while advancing reforms?  To what extent are leaders from the region willing to take ownership of such a process?  Is Islam compatible with democratic governance?  Would such a process be comprehensive, encompassing military security, economic cooperation, and human rights?  Which countries would or should be involved in such a process?  

These and similar issues will be covered at the hearing.

Testifying before the Commission:

H.E.  Natan Sharansky, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs and former Soviet dissident

Amb. Max M. Kampelman, Chairman Emeritus, Freedom House and former Counselor of the Department of State, U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, U.S. negotiator with Soviet Union on Nuclear and Space Arms

Peter Jones, Research Associate, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto and Policy Analyst, Canada’s Privy Council

Amb. (ret.) Craig Dunkerley, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University who has recently published a paper on the matter. In the early 90s, he served in Vienna as Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Mission to the OSCE

Prof. Michael Yaffe, Ph.D., Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University who has been a consultant on the Greater Middle East Initiative. From 1993 to 2001, he served as a Foreign Service Officer on the U.S. delegation to the Middle East Peace Process

Background: Since its inception the OSCE has included a Mediterranean dimension. Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia are currently designated as Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, a special status similar to that of observer status in other multilateral organizations.

As Mediterranean Partners, none of the countries is obligated to implement the OSCE human rights commitments contained in the Helsinki Final Act and other documents. Representatives of these countries may attend Council of Ministers meetings, review conferences, regular meetings with the Troika and, on a case-by-case basis, to seminars and other ad hoc meetings in which they have an interest.

The Helsinki Commission held a briefing on October 11, 2003, where the human rights situation of the Mediterranean Partners was discussed.

Media contact

Category
Country
Issue
Date
Filter Topics Open Close
Articles

United States Demonstrates Global Leadership on Ukra...

Jul 14, 2023

The Helsinki Commission’s four senior leaders helmed the United States’ bicameral, bipartisan delegation to the 30th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly last week in Vancouver, Canada. Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD), serving as Head of Delegation, was joined by Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02) as Deputy Head of Delegation as well as Ranking Members […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Supporting A Democratic and Secure Moldova

Jul 12, 2023

In recent years, Moldova has made notable steps to improve its democratic institutions and combat corruption. President Maia Sandu and her Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) have spearheaded wide-ranging reforms and backed a number of high-profile anti-corruption cases. Moldova has also made strides toward greater integration with the European Union (EU). In 2022, the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Chair and Co-Chair Lead Delegati...

Jul 10, 2023

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Co-Chair Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Helsinki Commission Chair Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02) led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the 30th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) in Vancouver, Canada from June 30-July 4. As Head of Delegation and Deputy Head of Delegation respectively, Senator Cardin and Representative Wilson welcomed the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Hearing: Supporting a Democratic and Secure Moldova

Jul 06, 2023

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 2:00 pm Cannon House Office Building, Room 210 Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm-R6rfQbCo In recent years, Moldova has enacted numerous reforms under current Moldovan President Maia Sandu to strengthen its democratic institutions, combat corruption and kleptocracy, and integrate with the European Union. In 2022, the European Union granted Moldova “Candidate” status in its […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

North Macedonia’s Leadership of the OSCE in a ...

Feb 28, 2023

North Macedonia has taken up leadership of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—a year into Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Much of the OSCE’s focus over the past year has revolved around responses to the war, including using the organization to condemn Russian aggression and hold the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

HEARING: NORTH MACEDONIA’S LEADERSHIP OF THE OSCE IN...

Feb 24, 2023

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNgAOyC9f5g North Macedonia has taken up leadership of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—a year into Putin’s brutal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Much of the OSCE’s focus over the past year has revolved around responses to the war, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

U.S. Delegation to the OSCE PA presents Joint Statem...

Feb 24, 2023

WASHINGTON— Today, the U.S. Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) endorsed the “Joint Statement of Action on the One-Year Anniversary of Russia’s War Against Ukraine and the International Legal Order,” which was endorsed by the OSCE PA Bureau and published today at the conclusion of the […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Steadfast Support for Ukraine: United States Delegat...

Feb 23, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA), led by Senator Ben Cardin (MD), met with Mykyta Poturaiev, Ukraine’s Head of Delegation and additional representatives of the Ukrainian Rada in Vienna, Austria, along with the Heads of Delegation of Canada, Estonia, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Urge Austria to Deny Visas to...

Feb 15, 2023

WASHINGTON – Helsinki Commission leadership, Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, Co-Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin, and Rep. Steve Cohen, on February 10, sent a letter to Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg to reconsider granting visas to the Russian delegation to the Winter Meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, […]

screen-reader-text
Articles

OSCE’s 2022 Ministerial Council in Lodz: Russia Isol...

Dec 09, 2022

By Janice Helwig, Senior Policy Advisor, Demitra Pappas, Senior Advisor Department of State, Shannon Simrell, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to OSCE Foreign Ministers and senior officials from the 57 participating States and 11 Asian and Mediterranean partners of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) convened the OSCE […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Announces Hearing on Crowdsourci...

Dec 07, 2022

WATCH LIVE                                                                                                           […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Alarmed By Reported Transport of...

Sep 02, 2022

WASHINGTON—Following reports that the Sparta II, a Russian cargo ship, transported S-300 missile systems through the Turkish Straits, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), and Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following joint statement: “We are alarmed by Russia’s reported transport of […]

screen-reader-text