Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, has been named the Chairman of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee. He takes over this position from retired Senator Jim Webb. In addition, at the start of the 113th Congress, Senator Cardin was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resume leadership of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission). Rotating between the House and Senate each Congress, Senator Cardin previously held the post of Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission during the 111th Congress.
“It is a privilege and an honor to chair both the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee and the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which focus on very different parts of the world but share a common mission of encouraging economic cooperation with global partners, protecting human rights and fighting corruption.
“Together with the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we will continue to engage the East Asia and Pacific region to promote our security and global geopolitical stability. We face serious challenges such as maritime sovereignty issues, nuclear testing, and regimes taking their first tentative steps toward inclusive governance. We should explore every opportunity for a peaceful, fair resolution of regional conflicts. Economic issues such as increasing trade and growing entrepreneurship also deserve our attention.
“We must work together with our partners in Asia to foster region-wide mutual understanding and constructive dialogue on good governance, transparency and human rights issues including empowering women; protecting children; and ensuring civil liberties. We must foster cooperation across borders through continued scientific collaboration on how to protect our oceans and forests and keep our water and air clean. We should encourage educational exchanges that will bring our countries closer together.
“As the author of the recently passed Sergei Magnitsky Accountability Act and the Cardin-Lugar transparency initiative for oil, gas and mining industries, I expect the U.S. Helsinki Commission to continue to focus a bright spotlight on Russia and other countries that abuse human rights across the OSCE region. Fighting corruption and human rights abuses can have a direct, positive effect on economic and national security for the U.S. and countries around the world. My goal is to return the Commission to its roots of looking at all 57 countries that have signed the Helsinki final act and how those countries are implementing its requirements.”
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 56 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.