U.S. Helsinki Commission

U.S. Helsinki Commission The U.S. Helsinki Commission monitors human rights and international cooperation in 57 countries. Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman
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Operating as usual

The 2021 OSCE PA Annual Session was held in a hybrid format, with most of the approximately 250 delegates participating ...
07/15/2021
Helsinki Commission Delegation Advances Priority Issues at First OSCE PA Annual Session Since Onset of Covid-19 Pandemic

The 2021 OSCE PA Annual Session was held in a hybrid format, with most of the approximately 250 delegates participating remotely and others convening in Vienna. The United States had more representatives to the in-person meeting of the OSCE PA Standing Committee—comprising the heads of national delegations and other OSCE PA leaders—than any other participating State: Chairman Cardin, as the head of the U.S. delegation; Sen. Wicker, who serves as a vice-president of the OSCE PA; and Helsinki Commissioner Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08), who chairs the OSCE PA General Committee on Political Affairs and Security.

Other members traveling to Vienna included Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Commissioners Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), Sen. John Cornyn (TX), Sen. Thom Tillis (NC), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Rep. Andy Harris (MD-01), and Rep. Trent Kelly (MS-01). Remote participants in the Annual Session included Commissioners Sen. Tina Smith (MN), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).

While in Vienna, members also met with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid and other senior OSCE officials, along with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi.

The in-person delegation also traveled to Estonia, where they met with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets, former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and Chair of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson to demonstrate the strong U.S. support for the bilateral security relationship. During a visit to Narva, delegation members engaged with representatives of the local Russian-speaking community and visited the Russia-Estonia border to gain a better understanding of the security situation.

Members then traveled to Bulgaria for the Three Seas Initiative Summit, designed to promote transparent and sustainable investments in energy, transportation, and digital infrastructure that contribute to an undivided, free, prosperous, and resilient Europe. While at the summit, they held bilateral meetings with President Andrzej Duda of Poland, President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria, and President Egils Levits of Latvia to discuss a broad range of security and human rights issues. The delegation also traveled to Varna to examine Black Sea regional security issues; visited a Roma community to better understand the current situation of Roma in Bulgaria and underscore U.S. support for the rights of Bulgaria's Roma population; and met with journalists of the recently re-established Bulgarian service of Radio Free Europe.

En route back to the United States, the delegation visited the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program Norway, a cooperative effort with a stalwart NATO ally that reinforces regional security and offers direct support to U.S. deployments as far away as Iraq.

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) last week led a U.S. delegation to the 2021 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Annual Session in Vienna, Austria. The assembly was the first major gathering with an in-person component since the on...

Timeline Photos
07/12/2021

Timeline Photos

Welcomed Congressional Delegation Wicker/Cardin to Trondheim to inspect a Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway (MCPP-N) site and to discuss our enduring defense cooperation. Thanks to the Norwegian Armed Forces for your great hospitality.

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post
07/12/2021

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post
07/12/2021

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post
07/09/2021

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post
07/09/2021

Photos from U.S. Embassy Sofia's post

07/09/2021

Посланик Херо Мустафа приветства конгресмена Джо Уилсън, представител на Втори район в Южна Каролина, 30 години след първото му посещение в България. Конгресменът работи от години в подкрепа на политическото и икономическо развитие на България. Той е впечатлен от това колко много се е променила страната, откакто за пръв път е посетил България през 1990 г. в качеството си на щатски сенатор от Южна Каролина. Конгресмен Уилсън отбеляза колко е щастлив да е отново тук, за да може да продължи нашите силни отношения с невероятната България.

The Ambassador welcomed Congressman Joe Wilson, who represents South Carolina’s Second District, back to Bulgaria 30 years after his first visit. The congressman has worked for years supporting Bulgaria’s political and economic development. He is impressed by how much has changed since he first traveled to Bulgaria in 1990 as a South Carolina State Senator, and he remarked that he’s happy to be here to continue our strong relationship with #AmazingBulgaria.

Photos from Stenbocki maja's post
07/08/2021

Photos from Stenbocki maja's post

Just one week left to apply to become a Helsinki Commission Max Kampelman Fellow this fall! Fellows join an elite group ...
07/02/2021
Max Kampelman Fellowships

Just one week left to apply to become a Helsinki Commission Max Kampelman Fellow this fall! Fellows join an elite group of future American leaders in security policy, human rights, and strategic communications.

Past fellows have gone on to work for think tanks, Congressional committees, Members of Congress, major media outlets, the State Department, and more.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe seeks candidates for its Max Kampelman Fellowship program. Named for a longtime U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kampelman Fellows represent the next generation of American leaders in security policy, human....

Chairman Senator Ben Cardin lauded the introduction of the Combating Global Corruption Act in the House: “I commend Repr...
07/01/2021
Combating Global Corruption Act Introduced in House

Chairman Senator Ben Cardin lauded the introduction of the Combating Global Corruption Act in the House: “I commend Representatives Malinowski and Salazar for their bipartisan leadership in the ongoing fight against corruption. I hope we soon will pass this critically important bill and codify anti-corruption at the heart of U.S. foreign policy and national security efforts.”

“Corruption underpins dictatorship,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski. “By putting anti-corruption front and center in our foreign policy, we will be targeting the Achilles’ heel of brutal regimes around the world.”

“For too long, anti-corruption has taken a backseat in U.S. foreign policy, even as dictators across our hemisphere like Castro, Maduro, and Ortega enriched themselves while ravaging their people. Congress is putting counter-kleptocracy at the center of U.S. foreign policy and I am proud to be part of this movement,” said Rep. María Elvira Salazar.

WASHINGTON—Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) today introduced the Combating Global Corruption Act, which aims to identify and combat global corruption. The bill formally designates global corruption as a key U.S. national security priority and requires a public repo...

“Over the past decade as a Helsinki Commissioner, I’ve witnessed the commission’s unique capacity to press for progress ...
06/30/2021
Rep. Steve Cohen Appointed to Co-Chair Helsinki Commission

“Over the past decade as a Helsinki Commissioner, I’ve witnessed the commission’s unique capacity to press for progress on international human rights and cooperative security throughout the OSCE region,” Co-Chairman Congressman Steve Cohen said. “I am honored to be appointed as co-chair, and look forward to working closely with Chairman Cardin, fellow commissioners, and our OSCE partners to find strength in our shared values. We must continue to hold human rights abusers accountable, promote democratic values among participating States, counter Kremlin aggression, and work toward a sustainable model of regional security.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of serving alongside Representative Steve Cohen on the Helsinki Commission for more than ten years and am delighted to welcome him as our new co-chairman,” said Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Cardin. “His commitment to fighting for those who suffer from discrimination and oppression, whether at home or abroad, reflects the values of the Helsinki Commission, and I look forward to his partnership during the 117th Congress.”

WASHINGTON—Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) has been named by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to co-chair the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the Helsinki Commission) during the 117th Congress. “Over the past decade as a Helsinki Commissioner, I’ve witnessed the commi...

Calling all recent graduates and current students interested in human rights, strategic communications, and security pol...
06/25/2021

Calling all recent graduates and current students interested in human rights, strategic communications, and security policy: the U.S. Helsinki Commission Max Kampelman Fellowship is a paid opportunity to engage with these areas and more!

Applications for the fall 2021 cohort are due July 9. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.csce.gov/about-csce/join-our-team/max-kampelman-fellowships

Calling all recent graduates and current students interested in human rights, strategic communications, and security policy: the U.S. Helsinki Commission Max Kampelman Fellowship is a paid opportunity to engage with these areas and more!

Applications for the fall 2021 cohort are due July 9. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.csce.gov/about-csce/join-our-team/max-kampelman-fellowships

06/25/2021
www.congress.gov

Before joining the Senate, current chair Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin served as a Helsinki Commissioner in the House of Representatives. In a 2005 Congressional Record Statement, he lauded the bipartisan achievements of commission.

“Our work on the Helsinki Commission is bipartisan, and I do not think I can ever recall a moment in my entire service on this Commission where we have had a partisan difference,” he said. “Our bipartisan record has led to numerous accomplishments on critical issues in the OSCE.”

#HelsinkiComm45

Some #HelsinkiComm45 history today, thanks to research from Max Kampelman Fellow Taylor Buck.The Commission on Security ...
06/24/2021

Some #HelsinkiComm45 history today, thanks to research from Max Kampelman Fellow Taylor Buck.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe first appeared in the Congressional Record on September 9, 1975 when Rep. Millicent Fenwick introduced the legislation that would create the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Records show that the Helsinki Commission had its early skeptics. Executive branch memos and conversation transcriptions at the time include strongly-worded opposition to the commission: “The President signed the bill only because I had not been told what was happening,” said Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. “I would have fought it to death.” State Department Legal Advisor Monroe Leigh called the commission’s creation a “grave mistake.” But commission assets proved their worth and led to productive collaboration across many administrations.

Thanks in large part to the resilient efforts and foresight of Rep. Millicent Fenwick, the commission can celebrate 45 years today. “We must concentrate on what America does best—speak for freedom and compassion across every barrier of dissent and distance,” said Rep. Fenwick while introducing the legislation that’d create the commission. For more on her contributions, see: https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/representative-millicent-fenwick

Some #HelsinkiComm45 history today, thanks to research from Max Kampelman Fellow Taylor Buck.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe first appeared in the Congressional Record on September 9, 1975 when Rep. Millicent Fenwick introduced the legislation that would create the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Records show that the Helsinki Commission had its early skeptics. Executive branch memos and conversation transcriptions at the time include strongly-worded opposition to the commission: “The President signed the bill only because I had not been told what was happening,” said Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. “I would have fought it to death.” State Department Legal Advisor Monroe Leigh called the commission’s creation a “grave mistake.” But commission assets proved their worth and led to productive collaboration across many administrations.

Thanks in large part to the resilient efforts and foresight of Rep. Millicent Fenwick, the commission can celebrate 45 years today. “We must concentrate on what America does best—speak for freedom and compassion across every barrier of dissent and distance,” said Rep. Fenwick while introducing the legislation that’d create the commission. For more on her contributions, see: https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/representative-millicent-fenwick

06/23/2021
www.congress.gov

In 2012, Helsinki Commission Chair Senator Ben Cardin described the Helsinki Commission’s approach to drawing attention the plight of those who fight for human rights in the face of authoritarian regimes:

“The U.S. Helsinki Commission …has a proud history of putting a spotlight on problems. People do not like name calling, but we have to point out where the violations occur. Unfortunately, if we do not do it, it becomes statistics. But if we do it, we put a face on it—so we realize these are people who have families who have been abused because they are trying to do the right thing—we can get action. That is why I am so proud of the legacy of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and what we have been able to do.” #HelsinkiComm45

06/22/2021
www.congress.gov

In 2001, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Helsinki Commission, former Commission Chairman Majority Leader Steny Hoyer explained how the commission was viewed by those fighting for their freedom and human rights abroad.

“To those who were in the Soviet gulag, or in Ceausescu’s Romania …. the fact that some Americans and others were out there, speaking on their behalf, gave them the will to survive those dark days, and to continue the struggle for freedom,” he said. “Many of those voices were emanating in the non-governmental community, groups like Amnesty International, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. Through the Helsinki Commission, the voice of the United States Congress was heard as well, and I know that all of my colleagues who have been on the Commission or worked with it are enormously proud of that fact.” #HelsinkiComm45

https://www.congress.gov/107/crec/2001/06/27/CREC-2001-06-27-pt1-PgE1229-3.pdf

Last week, U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Cardin commemorated the commission's 45th anniversary in a floo...
06/21/2021
45th Anniversary of the U.S. Helsinki Commission

Last week, U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Cardin commemorated the commission's 45th anniversary in a floor statement that highlighted key achievements and his personal experiences.

"The Helsinki Commission has been responsible for elevating our moral dimension to U.S. foreign policy," Senator Cardin explained. "Its principles point out very clearly that you cannot have security without dealing with good governance and human rights; you cannot have economic progress unless you have governance that respects the rights of all its citizens."

#HelsinkiComm45

https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/press-and-media/statements/45th-anniversary-us-helsinki-commission

I take this time as the Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, as we celebrate our 45th anniversary. The Helsinki Commission is the vehicle for U.S. participation in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), repr...

Apply by July 9 to join the fall class of Helsinki Commission Kampelman Fellows.  Communications fellows assist with med...
06/18/2021
Max Kampelman Fellowships

Apply by July 9 to join the fall class of Helsinki Commission Kampelman Fellows.

Communications fellows assist with media outreach activities; help publicize Commission hearings and briefings; staff Commission events; develop web content; and craft creative and engaging content to be shared on social media.

Policy fellows research policies and trends relating to international military, economic, and human rights commitments throughout the 57-country OSCE region; assist staff advisors with hearings, briefings, congressional delegations, legislation, and publications; attend congressional hearings, panels, and events; and more.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe seeks candidates for its Max Kampelman Fellowship program. Named for a longtime U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kampelman Fellows represent the next generation of American leaders in security policy, human....

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Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), Co-Chairman

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