(Washington, DC) Today, the Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD) issued the following statement commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
“As incidents of racial discrimination continue to plague the OSCE region, I call on world leaders to come together to do more. Last year the OSCE was poised to adopt a Ministerial Decision to strengthen efforts to combat racism and xenophobia that would have furthered North American and European efforts to address the problem. Not only is a revival of that agreement needed, but also a global effort that capacitates governments, the civil society, and private sector to address racism, prejudice, and discrimination. As our countries become more diverse, the stabilities of our democracies, economies, and security will likewise become dependent on strengthening policies that support inclusion and capitalize on diversity alongside anti-discrimination policies.”
“With the focus of this year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Racism in Sport, I am reminded that a focus on anti-discrimination and diversity issues in the management of sports has been instrumental in curbing ethnic and gender biases not only in the sports arena, but also wider society in my own country. Additionally, a 2011 OSCE meeting on the topic revealed heightened incidents of discrimination experienced by persons of African descent in sport, including monkey chants in soccer stadiums, stereotypes of enhanced athletic ability, exclusion from leadership opportunities, and being targets of violent hate crimes around sporting events. This issue in addition to continuing manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia displayed at soccer and other sporting events must be addressed.”
“Continuing discrimination against Roma, the rise of xenophobic political platforms, and almost daily racist incidents in sport, are a constant reminder that the global community has more work to do in this area. As we commemorate this year's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I echo the words of the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in supporting the creation of a global fund to fight intolerance and foster inclusion. Providing the necessary funding is a way the global community can effectively move beyond words to actions to eradicate this problem be it in sports or other sectors of our societies.”
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21, following the UN General Assembly’s 1966 recognition of the deaths of 69 demonstrators protesting apartheid in South Africa killed by police on March 21, 1960.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.