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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
February 17, 2010


MADRID--U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation, today released the following statement after meeting with leaders of Spain's Roma Secretariat Foundation (Fundacion Secretariado Gitano).

"The work being done in Spain on behalf of Roma here and across Europe is to be commended. They are successfully including Roma, while still promoting the Roma culture," Cardin said. "We have seen first-hand the discrimination against Roma throughout Europe and we raise this as a top priority issue in capitals across the continent. At the second EU summit on Roma issues in Cordoba, Spain in April, I hope to see a clear European strategy to implement concrete steps for social inclusion of Roma across the EU."

Cardin is leading a bipartisan Congressional delegation in Spain that includes Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) and Laura Richardson (D-CA). After meeting with foundation president Pedro Puente Fernandez, the delegation toured the foundation offices and community center, meeting students and viewing exhibitions of Roma culture.

In addition to Tuesday's bilateral meetings in Madrid, the delegation today met with senior foreign ministry officials handling Mediterranean and OSCE issues and visited the memorial to victims of the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

The "European Summit on Actions and Policies in Favor of the Gypsy Population" is to be held April 8 in Cordoba, Spain.

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.

Media Contact: Neil Simon

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