In a report released today, it was
noted that Congressperson Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL) was elected
Vice-Chair of the General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and
Humanitarian Questions. The appointment came during the 18th Annual
Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) in Vilnius, Lithuania.
A member of the Commission on Security
and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), Congressman
Robert B. Aderholt has been a Republican member of the United States House
of Representatives since 1997, representing Alabama's 4th
congressional district. As vice-chair of the committee,
Representative Aderholt will provide leadership in setting the agenda
on democracy and human rights issues before the Parliamentary
Assembly. The Assembly helps steer the policy direction of the OSCE
in monitoring and encouraging the 56 participating states to comply
with international commitments on security, economic and
environmental issues and human rights.
Representative Robert B. Aderholt said
of the appointment, "I am honored to be elected Vice Chair of this
committee, and I look forward to representing U.S. interests and
engagement abroad ... History has shown us that during times of
economic hardship, vulnerable minorities often pay the price.
Therefore, now more than ever, it is imperative that the United
States play an active role in promoting human rights, individual
liberties and ethnic and religious tolerance."
Chairperson of the Commission on
Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission),
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), said, "I commend Congressman
Aderholt for seeking a leadership position on the Human Rights
Committee and am confident that Congressman Aderholt's presence as
Vice Chair will ensure the committee's work remains relevant and
responsive to the challenges our countries face in the years ahead."
Co-Chairperson Congressperson Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) said, "I
congratulate my colleague in his ascension to Vice Chair, and believe
that his lifetime commitment to human rights, including active
participation in the U.S. Helsinki Commission, will serve him well in
this new leadership capacity."
Despite published statements of support regarding the appointment, some in the international community are reserving judgment. Representative Aderholt's voting record is generally conservative and as such many are concerned that his ideological basis will be in conflict with a more progressive agenda advocated by many within the human rights community.