In March 2015, Helsinki Commission Ranking Senator Ben Cardin was appointed the first-ever Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA).
Senator Cardin’s 2017 winter report to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly outlines his work from June 15, 2016 to February 10, 2017 in fulfillment of the following mandate:
- Raise awareness in and report to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the persisting problem of prejudice and discrimination in the OSCE area, including anti-Semitism, other religion- and race-based intolerance and other forms of intolerance.
- Raise awareness in and report to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the track records of OSCE participating States in combating these problems.
- Advise the Assembly on the implementation of its agreed policies in these matters as well as on the development of new policies and strategies, including on how to protect the individuals and communities affected.
- Seek to promote dialogue and exchange of best practices within the Assembly on combating these problems.
- Communicate with relevant actors within the OSCE who work on combating prejudice and discrimination in the OSCE area, including anti-Semitism, other religion- and race-based intolerance and other forms of intolerance.
The 2017 winter report details Senator Cardin’s efforts to specifically address four priorities through engagement with multiple stakeholders, special initiatives, and legislation: 1) anti-Semitism and community security; 2) anti-Muslim bigotry; 3) policing; and 4) anti-migrant/refugee bias.
Efforts described in the report include:
- Anti-discrimination and diversity provisions in U.S. law authored by Senator Cardin, including an increase in State Department funding to 1) support U.S. and European civil society work with youth to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of religious, ethnic, or racial intolerance in Europe; and 2) increase diversity in U.S. international affairs careers through data reporting requirements, diversity fellowship programs, and other initiatives.
- A roundtable discussion hosted by Senator Cardin with U.S. civil rights organizations and British law enforcement titled, “Race, justice and public safety in the US and the UK.”
- A bipartisan roundtable hosted by Senator Cardin, featuring ODIHR Director Michael Link, titled, “Turning Words into Action: Addressing Anti-Semitism and Intolerance in the OSCE Region.”
- The adoption of an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Supplemental Item, “A Call for OSCE Action to Address Violence and Discrimination,” expressing alarm over heightened incidents of violence and discrimination and increased prejudice in the OSCE region, and calling for immediate action.
Download the full report to learn more.