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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
November 19, 2013


WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) will hold the following briefing today:

Europeans of African Descent ‘Black Europeans’: Race, Rights, and Politics

Tuesday, November 19

11:00 a.m.

Dirksen Senate Office Building Room SDG-50

Throwing bananas and other racist acts targeting Black cabinet-level officials in Italy and France have put a spotlight on the experiences of the 7-10 million people of African Descent in Europe / Black Europeans. A visible minority in Europe often unacknowledged despite a centuries’ long presence in Europe, Black Europeans have increasingly become the targets of discrimination, pernicious racial profiling, and violent hate crimes impacting equal access to housing, employment, education, and justice.

Europe today grapples with the complex intersection of national identity, decreasing birth rates, increasing immigration, security concerns, and a rise in extremist political parties and vigilantism. In this context, the experiences of Black Europeans increasingly serve as a measure of the strength of European democracies and commitments to human rights. The briefing will discuss the work of Black European rights organizations and the efforts of the international community to address issues of inequality, discrimination, and inclusion for Black Europeans, in addition to discussing similarities and work with African-American civil rights organizations.

The following panelists are scheduled to participate:

King C. Asante-Yeboa, President, Africa Center, Ukraine

Hedwig Bvumburah, Director, Cross Culture International Foundation (CCIF), Malta

Salome Mbugua, CEO, AkiDwA, Migrant Women’s Network, Ireland

Jallow Momodou, Vice-Chair for European Network Against Racism; Chair, Pan-African Movement for Justice, Sweden

Larry Olomoofe, Racism and Xenophobia Advisor, OSCE/ODIHR, Poland

Please click here to watch the BET interview with the 10 nation delegation of Black Europeans.

Please click here to read the press release introducing Congressman Hasting's Resolution recognizing People of African Descent and Black European Leaders.



The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.

Media Contact: Shelly Han
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