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Senate & House Leaders Appoint Full Slate of Commission Members

Washington – The United States Congress has filled its mandated slate of Members to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, commonly called the Helsinki Commission with its origin stemming from the agreement to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act.

The Senate Republican leadership has appointed Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) as Chairman of the Commission for the 107th Congress, a position which rotates between the House and Senate with each new Congress. House of Representatives Republican leaders appointed Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) as Co-Chairman of the Commission. The appointment comes after Smith completed a two-year term as Chairman in the 106th Congress.

Chairman Campbell, the only Native American in the U.S. Senate and a former Deputy Sheriff, acknowledged the appointment as Commission Chairman as an opportunity to encourage stability throughout Europe’s emerging democracies.

“Combating corruption and protecting the rights of minorities will certainly be on my list of priorities as Chairman of the Helsinki Commission,” Campbell said.

“I look forward to building upon the Commission’s tradition of bipartisan cooperation in speaking out on behalf of individuals being denied their fundamental freedoms and basic human rights,” said Chairman Campbell. Instrumental in raising the growing problem of corruption and international crime within the framework of the 55-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Campbell plans to build upon this initiative during his chairmanship. Co-Chairman Smith expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue his leadership in monitoring human rights developments among the now 55 OSCE countries.

“I am grateful that the House leadership has entrusted me with the task of leading the Helsinki Commission in its efforts to improve human rights throughout Europe,” Smith said. “When we see abuses like the car-bomb murder of Rosemary Nelson, a Northern Ireland human rights attorney and advocate, it is humbling to discover the price people pay for the sake of human dignity.”

The Helsinki Commission, created by Congress in 1976, consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine members from the U.S. House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce. The executive branch Commissioners are expected to be appointed in the near future.

U.S. House of Representatives:

Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey, Co-Chairman
Frank R. Wolf, Virginia
Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania
Zach Wamp, Tennessee
Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland
Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland
Louise McIntosh Slaughter, New York
Alcee L. Hastings, Florida

U.S. Senate:

Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado, Chairman
Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas
Sam Brownback, Kansas
Gordon H. Smith, Oregon
George V. Voinovich, Ohio
Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut
Bob Graham, Florida
Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin
Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York

The Commission convenes public hearings and briefings with expert witnesses on OSCE-related issues; issues public reports concerning implementation of OSCE commitments in participating States; publishes periodic CSCE Digest articles with up-to-date information on OSCE developments and Commission activities; and organizes official delegations to participating States and OSCE meetings to address and assess democratic, economic, and human rights developments firsthand.

The Commission contributes to the formulation of U.S. policy on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and takes part in its execution, including through Member and staff participation on U.S. Delegations to OSCE meetings and in certain OSCE bodies. Members of the Commission have regular contact with parliamentarians, government officials, NGOs, and private individuals from other OSCE participating States.

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Articles

Helsinki Commission Advances Human Rights, Demands f...

Oct 19, 2023

By Shannon Simrell, Senior Policy Advisor Between October 2-13, 11 Helsinki Commission staff joined approximately 1,400 representatives of OSCE participating States (pS) and civil society representatives in Warsaw, Poland in an annual review of the human rights records of OSCE States. U.S. leadership highlighted demands for accountability from Russia and Belarus for their human rights […]

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Hearings

Russia’s Alpine Assets: Money Laundering and S...

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Switzerland has for years been a primary destination for Russian money laundering and, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a weak link in Western sanctions enforcement. This Helsinki Commission hearing examined Switzerland’s poor track record of rooting out dirty Russian money and examined potential paths forward for U.S. policymakers in persuading Switzerland to uphold its […]

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Press Releases

Hearing: Supporting a Democratic and Secure Moldova

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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 […]

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Press Releases

Chairman Wilson and RM Cohen Mark Third Annual Count...

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Announce Re-introduction of C...

Jan 25, 2023

On Tuesday, Helsinki Commissioners Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Joe Wilson, and Senator Ben Cardin re-introduced the Combatting Global Corruption Act in both the House and Senate, along with Rep. Bill Keating, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar and Senator Todd Young. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation formally designates combatting global corruption as a key U.S. national security concern. It would require […]

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Press Releases

Co-Chairman Cohen Calls for the Release of Political...

Aug 09, 2022

Washington – On the second anniversary of the sham presidential election in Belarus, the Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman and OSCE PA Special Representative on Political Prisoners Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) issued the following statement: “Two years ago today, Belarus’s autocrat Aleksander Lukashenko put up a show of an election that he had hoped would legitimize his […]

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Digests

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest July 2022

Jul 29, 2022

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Deeply Concerned Over Latest Ele...

Jul 27, 2022

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and  Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) today expressed deep concern about an effort by the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia to impose changes on the country’s electoral system barely two months prior to general elections in early October. They issued the following joint statement: “We share the concerns […]

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Digests

HELSINKI COMMISSION DIGITAL DIGEST JUNE 2022

Jun 30, 2022

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Digests

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest May 2022

Jun 01, 2022

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Briefings

Putin’s Bribetakers and Warmongers

May 19, 2022

The Helsinki Commission was briefed on 6,000 bribetakers and warmongers identified by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commissioners Lead Bipartisan Ask for Biden...

May 12, 2022

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), along with Helsinki Commission Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker (MS) and Commissioners Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) are urging President Joe Biden to publicly sanction […]

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