WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD) has been named Co-Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, for the 118th Congress. Cardin previously served as Chair of the Commission, which alternates leadership roles between House and Senate each Congress. Since 2015, Cardin also has served as the Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
A third-generation Marylander, Cardin has been a national leader on foreign policy while representing the people of Maryland in the U.S. Senate, and before that in the House of Representatives. He has worked across party lines to further U.S. national security and to ensure that good governance, transparency, and respect for human rights are integrated into American foreign policy efforts. He is the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“It has been an honor throughout the majority of my time in Congress to be an active member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission,” said Cardin. “As the connecting point with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commission has united bipartisan lawmakers and the executive branch in the defense of human rights and democratic institutions at home and abroad. Democracy is resilient but it is fragile, and the Helsinki Commission has promoted the enduring values of democracy and multilateralism.
“These are difficult times of the OSCE region across much of its 57-member states. Russia continues its unprovoked and illegal war against fellow OSCE member Ukraine. Türkiye is dealing with the aftermath of unprecedented fatalities after the recent earthquake. COVID-19 had a crippling impact on our most vulnerable citizens and opened the door for some governments to exploit the pandemic to limit fundamental freedoms. Antisemitism and racist violence have raged in many OSCE-participating states, including the U.S. These challenges make it even more important that the U.S. Helsinki Commission continue to defend human and civil rights globally, encourage tolerance within societies, root out corruption and defend the basic principles of liberty and sovereignty,” Cardin continued.
Senator Cardin has been a Helsinki Commissioner since 1993 and previously chaired the commission in the 111th, 113th, and 117th Congresses. He is the author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act and the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, all of which have become law. He also a leader on pending legislation, including the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act, which would designate the mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, a Senate Resolution calling for Russia’s actions in Ukraine to be declared a genocide, and the Combatting Global Corruption Act that would raise the profile of efforts to fight international corruption by publicly naming countries where corruption is rampant, and governments are not living up to commitments they have made to combat corruption.