Media Contact: Ben Anderson
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will host an inter-parliamentary forum on combating anti-Semitism in participating States in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and other members of the Commission will join with a German Bundestag delegation led by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Vice President Dr. Gert Weisskirchen to develop a response by parliamentarians to increased anti-Semitism in the OSCE region. Co-Chairman Smith served as Head of the United States delegation to the OSCE PA in Berlin.
Confronting and Combating anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region
10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
334 Cannon House Office Building
This event is a follow-up to a session on anti-Semitism by American and German parliamentarians held in Berlin in July 2002 which coincided with the annual OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. December 10 is recognized around the world as International Human Rights Day.
The forum is an opportunity to further develop an ongoing process involving other OSCE parliamentarians to deal with the increase of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the OSCE region. It is hoped to expand the process in 2003 utilizing the meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly. A number of American and European experts will participate and offer recommendations for further action. A “letter of intent” suggesting specific areas for attention and further cooperation will be signed by the leaders of both delegations following the Forum.
OSCE participating States have pledged to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and take effective measures to protect individuals from anti-Semitic violence. Despite that commitment, attacks against Jews continue. Coupled with a resurgence of aggressive nationalism and an increase in neo-Nazi “skin head” activity, participating States throughout the 55-nation OSCE region face the urgent challenge of stemming the tide of escalating anti-Semitic violence.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site at http://www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the Forum.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.