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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
June 26, 2013


WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) released the following statement today:

“June 26 is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, commemorating the date in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force. On this occasion, I commend the organizations devoted to the care and healing of torture survivors, in the United States and around the globe.

In my work with the Helsinki Commission, I have felt it is important to stand up for the prohibition against torture enshrined in the UN convention, and I have chaired and participated in multiple hearings examining the status and treatment of detainees.

I welcome the measures undertaken by President Obama immediately after his election to ensure that abusive practices were ended. But there is another step I believe the United States must now take: the release of the Senate intelligence report on detention and interrogation practices. That report has been sent to various government agencies for comment as part of a process that I hope will ultimately lead to the release of a declassified version. 

I urge the White House to play a leadership role in this process and provide the American people with a full and transparent record of practices that were undertaken in their name. This action will strengthen the ability of the United States to play a leadership role as a worldwide advocate for human rights.”

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.


Media Contact: Shelly Han
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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (C), who serves as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2015, meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and Helsinki Commission Chairman Chris Smith (R) immediately after the February 25 hearing on Serbia's leadership of the OSCE. (Feb. 2015)