Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement after the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, appointed him to chair the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, during the 116th Congress:
“For more than four decades, the Helsinki Commission has championed human rights and democracy across North America, Europe, and Central Asia. While we have worked to keep these concerns on the U.S. agenda, much remains to be accomplished. Rogue actors are challenging the integrity of elections at home and abroad; Russia’s internal repression threatens its citizens while its external aggression imperils its neighbors; and members of vulnerable communities are targets of bigotry, discrimination, and violence. All of these challenges undermine comprehensive security in the region and place our societies at risk.
“I’m honored to once again chair the Helsinki Commission, and look forward to continuing the bipartisan, bicameral cooperation that is vital to promoting human rights, military security, and economic cooperation in the 57 countries that make up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.”
Chairman Hastings has served on the Helsinki Commission since 2001, and in 2007, he became the first African American to chair the commission. Hastings is also the only American to have ever served as President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), and is the former Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.