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Expressing the Sense of Congress in Support of the Ongoing Work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

  • Hon. Ben N. Campbell
    US












Senate

108th Congress, Second Session

Madam President, I applaud the leadership for taking up S. Con. Res. 110, a resolution expressing the sense of Congress in support of the ongoing work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, in combating anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, intolerance, and related violence.

The Helsinki Commission, which I co-chair, has been on the forefront of efforts to combat anti-Semitism throughout the 55 participating States that comprise the OSCE. Commission initiatives have been aimed at urging all OSCE countries to take real action, to ensure that the issue of anti-Semitism is not swept under the rug or disguised in misleading euphemisms like “hooliganism.” The latent, yet persistent, problem of anti-Semitism is one that cannot be ignored, but rather must be met head on, with the full force and weight of elected leaders and Government officials publicly denouncing acts of anti-Semitism and related violence.

For this reason, I am pleased the U.S. Senate today will be on record in our fight against anti-Semitism and speak to this pernicious problem. I want to highlight one portion of the resolution that calls for the Bulgarian Chairman-in-Office and the incoming Slovenian CiO to “consider appointing” an individual to the post of a “personal envoy.” This high profile position would help ensure “sustained attention with respect to fulfilling OSCE commitments on the reporting of anti-Semitic crimes.” The need for this position was made clear in a recent report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

At the end of June the OSCE’S Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Right’s ODIHR reported that only 20 of 55 participating States had responded to the four requests for submissions issued by ODIHR between January 28 and May 28. Canada and Slovakia have since made submissions. Each participating State has been asked to forward to ODIHR information concerning legislation and statistics about anti-Semitic crimes and hate crimes, as agreed to under the Maastricht Ministerial Council Decision and the Permanent Council Decision highlighted in the Berlin Declaration.

Mr. President I ask unanimous consent that a summary of the responses from participating States, dated June 21, 2004 be printed in the Record following this statement:

 

As actions speak louder than words, the poor compliance indicates a lack the political will by some to make fighting anti-Semitism and intolerance a high priority. Therefore, a personal envoy could work to encourage participating States to honor their commitments and to forward the information to ODIHR for compilation, raising these concerns at the highest level. I consequently urge Bulgaria and Slovenia, along with all other participating States, to support efforts to create a personal envoy of the OSCE Chairman in Office on anti-Semitism. I note that the current OSCE Chair, Foreign Minister Solomon Passy is in Washington this week for consultations and I urge him to appoint such a representative before the end of Bulgaria’s chairmanship.

As Secretary of State Powell stated at the Berlin Conference, “We must send the clear message far and wide that anti-Semitism is always wrong and it is always dangerous. We must send the clear message that anti-Semitic hate crimes are exactly that: crimes, and that these crimes will be aggressively prosecuted.” Senate passage of S. Con. Res. 110 will bolster the ongoing work of the OSCE in confronting and combating anti-Semitism.

 

Exhibit 1 
PARTICIPATING STATE RESPONSES TO NOTE VERBALE 
[As of 21st June 2004] 

Participating State

Responded to NV

Statistics

Legislation

National initiatives

Nomination of authority responsible for collection and provision of info

           

Albania

Yes

X

Yes

X

X

Andorra

X

X

X

X

X

Armenia

X

X

X

X

X

Austria

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Azerbaijan

X

X

X

X

X

Belarus

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Belgium

X

X

X

X

X

Bosnia and Herzegovina

X

X

X

X

X

Bulgaria

Yes

X

Yes

Yes

X

Canada

X

X

X

X

X

Croatia

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Cyprus

X

X

X

X

X

Czech Republic

X

X

X

X

X

Denmark

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Estonia

X

X

X

X

X

Finland

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

France

X

X

X

X

X

Georgia

X

X

X

X

X

Germany

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Greece

X

X

X

X

X

Holy See

Yes

X

X

Yes

Yes

Hungary

X

X

X

X

X

Iceland

X

X

X

X

X

Ireland

X

X

X

X

X

Italy

X

X

X

X

X

Kazakhstan

X

X

X

X

X

Kyrgyzstan

X

X

X

X

X

Latvia

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Liechtenstein

Yes

X

Yes

Yes

X

Lithuania

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Luxembourg

Yes

X

Yes

Yes

X

Malta

Yes

X

Yes

X

X

Moldova

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

X

Monaco

X

X

X

X

X

Netherlands

X

X

X

X

X

Norway

X

X

X

X

X

Poland

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Portugal

X

X

X

X

X

Romania

Yes

X

Yes

Yes

X

Russian Federation

X

X

X

X

X

San Marino

X

X

X

X

X

Serbia and Montenegro

X

X

X

X

X

Slovak Republic

X

X

X

X

X

Slovenia

X

X

X

X

X

Spain

X

X

X

X

X

Sweden

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Switzerland

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Tajikistan

X

X

X

X

X

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

X

X

X

X

X

Turkey

X

X

X

X

X

Turkmenistan

X

X

X

X

X

Ukraine

X

X

X

X

X

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

X

X

X

X

X

United States of America

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

X

Uzbekistan

X

X

X

X

X


S.Con.Res. 110

Expressing the sense of Congress in support of the ongoing work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in combating anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, intolerance, and related violence.

Whereas anti-Semitism is a unique evil and an affront to human rights that must be unequivocally condemned, and a phenomenon that, when left unchecked, has led to violence against members of the Jewish community and Jewish institutions;

Whereas racism, xenophobia, and discrimination are also pernicious ills that erode the dignity of the individual and undermine the achievement and preservation of stable democratic societies;

Whereas to be effective in combating these phenomena, governments must respond to related violence while seeking to address the underlying sources of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, intolerance, and related violence through public denouncements by elected leaders, vigorous law enforcement, and education;

Whereas all Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) participating states must confront acts of anti-Semitism and intolerance, and must deal effectively with acts of violence against Jews and Jewish cultural sites, as well as against ethnic and religious minority groups, in keeping with their OSCE commitments;

Whereas education is critical in overcoming intolerance and it is essential that those responsible for formulating education policy recognize the importance of teaching about the Holocaust and intolerance as a tool to fight anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination among young people;

Whereas ensuring proper training of law enforcement officers and military forces is vital in keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust and to the importance of understanding and responding to incidents of anti-Semitism and intolerance;

Whereas OSCE participating states have repeatedly committed to condemn anti-Semitism and intolerance, foremost in the historic 1990 Copenhagen Concluding Document that, for the first time, declared “participating [s]tates clearly and unequivocally condemn totalitarianism, racial and ethnic hatred, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and discrimination against anyone,” and stated their intent to “take effective measures . . . to provide protection against any acts that constitute incitement to violence against persons or groups based on national, racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, hostility or hatred, including anti-Semitism;”

Whereas the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has demonstrated leadership by unanimously passing resolutions at its annual sessions in 2002 and 2003 that condemn anti-Semitism, racial and ethnic hatred, xenophobia, and discrimination and call upon participating states to speak out against these acts and to ensure aggressive law enforcement by local and national authorities;

Whereas the 2002 Porto OSCE Ministerial Council Decision committed participating states to “take strong public positions against hate speech and other manifestations of aggressive nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and violent extremism,” specifically condemned the “recent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the OSCE area, recognizing the role that the existence of anti-Semitism has played throughout history as a major threat to freedom,” and urged for the “convening of separately designated human dimension events on issues addressed in this decision, including on the topics of anti-Semitism, discrimination and racism and xenophobia;”

Whereas the 2003 OSCE Vienna conferences on anti-Semitism and racism, xenophobia, and discrimination were groundbreaking, as the OSCE and its participating states met to discuss ways to combat these destructive forces;

Whereas the 2003 Maastricht Ministerial Council approved follow-up OSCE conferences on anti-Semitism and on racism, xenophobia and discrimination, and encouraged “all participating [s]tates to collect and keep records on reliable information and statistics on hate crimes, including on forms of violent manifestations of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and anti-Semitism,” as well as to inform the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) “about existing legislation regarding crimes fueled by intolerance and discrimination”;

Whereas at the 2004 OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, hosted in the German capital, the Bulgarian Chairman-in-Office issued the “Berlin Declaration” which stated unambiguously that “international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism”;

Whereas the Berlin Declaration advances the process of monitoring of anti-Semitic crimes and hate crimes, as all OSCE participating states committed to “collect and maintain” statistics about these incidents and to forward that information to the ODIHR for compilation;

Whereas during the closing conference plenary, the German Foreign Minister and others highlighted the need to ensure all participating states follow through with their commitments and initiate efforts to track anti-Semitic crimes and hate crimes; and

Whereas the Government of Spain announced its willingness to organize and hold the next OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism in Cordoba, Spain, in the event the OSCE Ministerial Council decides to hold another conference on anti-Semitism: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that–

(1) the United States Government and Congress should unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism and intolerance whenever and wherever they occur;

(2) officials and elected leaders of all Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) participating states, including all OSCE Mediterranean Partner for Cooperation countries, should also unequivocally condemn acts of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination whenever and wherever they occur;

(3) the participating states of the OSCE should be commended for supporting the Berlin Declaration and for working to bring increased attention to incidents of anti-Semitism and intolerance in the OSCE region;

(4) the United States Government, including Members of Congress, recognizing that the fundamental job of combating anti-Semitism and intolerance falls to governments, should work with other OSCE participating states and their parliaments to encourage the full compliance with OSCE commitments and, if necessary, urge the creation of legal mechanisms to combat and track acts of anti-Semitism and intolerance;

(5) all participating states, including the United States, should forward their respective laws and data on incidents of anti-Semitism and other hate crimes to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) for compilation and provide adequate resources for the completion of its duties;

(6) the United States should encourage the Bulgarian Chairman-in-Office, in consultation with the incoming Slovenian Chairman-in-Office, to consider appointing a high level “personal envoy” to ensure sustained attention with respect to fulfilling OSCE commitments on the reporting of anti-Semitic crimes;

(7) the United States should urge OSCE participating states to support the January 2000 Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, and the work of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, in developing effective methodologies to teach the lessons of the Holocaust; and

(8) all OSCE participating states should renew and revitalize efforts to implement their existing commitments to fight anti-Semitism and intolerance, and keep sharp focus on these issues as part of the usual work of the OSCE Permanent Council, the Human Dimension Implementation Review Meeting, the Ministerial Council and summits.

 

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