WASHINGTON—Following the death of Finnish parliamentarian Ilkka Kanerva, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.-09), and Ranking Members Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.-02) issued the following joint statement:
“We are saddened by the death of our former OSCE colleague Ilkka Kanerva. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.
“An outspoken advocate for democracy and human rights, Ilkka was the only person to have served as both the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
“He was first elected to the Finnish parliament in 1975, the year the Helsinki Final Act was signed, and started his tenure as president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in 2014, the year Russia first invaded Ukraine. He was an able leader who shaped the OSCE PA’s robust response at that time, speaking out against Russia’s violation of its OSCE commitments and its violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
“Ilkka will be missed.”
Ilkka Kanerva served as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in 2008 and as president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) from 2014 to 2016. He subsequently served as OSCE PA president emeritus and remained active as a member of the Finnish delegation to the OSCE PA.