Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the CSCE, held a briefing on hate crimes and discrimination in the OSCE region. Joining Chairman Hastings at the dais were Helsinki Commissioners Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA). The briefing focused on intolerance and discrimination within the 56 countries that make up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Congressman Hastings emphasized the discrimination against the Roma and other minorities of Turkish, African, and south Asian descent when they attempt to apply for jobs, find housing, and get an education
The panel of speakers – Dr. Dou Dou Diene, United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance; Dr. Tiffany Lightbourn, Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate; and Mr. Micah H. Naftalin and Mr. Nickolai Butkevich, UCSJ: Union of Councils for Soviet Jews – spoke of the rising popularity of right-wing extremist party, who espouse vicious anti-Semitic slogans and appeal to a 19th century form of European ethnic identity. In addition, Urs Ziswiler, the Ambassador of Switzerland, attended the briefing and commented on the rise in xenophobic views in Switzerland.