Congressman Steve Cohen joined the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) during the 112th Congress and was named Co-Chair of the Commission during the 117th Congress by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Congressman Cohen also serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary as Chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure; the House Committee on Natural Resources; and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
"I look forward to working closely with Chairman Cardin, fellow commissioners, and our OSCE partners to find strength in our shared values. We must continue to hold human rights abusers accountable, promote democratic values among participating States, counter Kremlin aggression, and work toward a sustainable model of regional security."
– Representative Steve Cohen
Since its inception, the Helsinki Commission has spearheaded efforts among OSCE participating States to recognize anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence as a unique region-wide phenomena. Helsinki Commission-led actions include annual hearings, legislation within the U.S. Congress, and resolutions adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) on combating anti-Semitism.
In the Helsinki Final Act, OSCE participating States recognized the essential and influential role of press and media, and commited themselves to improving access to information and working conditions for journalists. The Helsinki Commission pays particular attention to the problem of impunity for those who murder journalists, attacks on or imprisonment of journalists for their professional activities, disinformation in the OSCE region, and provisions of laws that inherently violate free speech norms.
The Helsinki Commission is committed to ensuring equal opportunities, regardless of gender, for all throughout the OSCE region. Helsinki Commissioners have worked closely with the OSCE and Parliamentary Assembly to combat human trafficking, which disproportionately affects women and girls, as well as to combat other violence against women, and address concerns related to women in conflict situations. The commission also pays special attention to women and girls in marginalized groups, such as the Roma-Sinti community, whose members have particular difficulty accessing equal opportunities.
The Helsinki Commission has responded actively to heightened anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-migrant, and religious and racist violence in the region, including against Roma and People of African Descent in Europe and North America. Commission efforts include hearings, legislation, and inter-parliamentary initiatives on topics ranging from anti-Semitism and Black Europeans to discrimination against Christians and Muslims.
As a fourth-generation Memphian first elected to Congress in 2006, Congressman Cohen has been a leader in promoting civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans, and he brings this same passion to the promotion of human rights and democracy around the world. As Helsinki Commission Co-Chair, Mr. Cohen believes that these shared values enhance security and cooperation among members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and are a vital part of the relationship between participating States.
Since joining the commission in 2011, Co-Chairman Cohen has participated in dozens of Helsinki Commission hearings and briefings with expert witnesses on OSCE-related issues, served as an international elections monitor, traveled with numerous United States delegations to meet with representatives of other OSCE participating States, and sponsored legislation to confront malign foreign influence, Russian aggression, and anti-Semitism.