WASHINGTON, 28 April 2015 – U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance, met with local leaders and government officials in Paris and Copenhagen over the weekend as follow-up to the violent attacks that took place in both cities earlier this year – the siege at a Kosher Market following the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the shooting at a free speech event at Copenhagen’s main synagogue.
Cardin’s engagement included conversations with Jewish, Muslim, African-descent, interfaith, and other community leaders on Jewish security, as well as on civil society coalition efforts to combat all forms prejudice and discrimination.
In March, Cardin was named the OSCE PA’s first Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance. Among his responsibilities are raising awareness and reporting to the 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. The Special Representative delivered the first of these reports to the Bureau of the OSCE PA while in Copenhagen.
Just prior to his trip, Cardin introduced legislation in his home country that would prohibit discriminatory racial profiling by law enforcement at all levels, nationwide.
“Crimes against individuals and groups based on race, religion and other forms of intolerance continue at an alarming rate in Europe and in the United States. As I stood at the sites of these heinous attacks on people simply going about their daily routines, in addition to the emotion of the moments, I was struck by the enormous responsibility we have to use all means necessary to combat the growing anti-Semitism and racism in our communities. We must stop this latest rise in intolerance before it takes root in the next generation,” Cardin said.
In France, the Special Representative also met with Prefect Gilles Clavreul, Head of the Inter-ministerial Delegation against Racism and Anti-Semitism, who outlined the 40-measure action plan on “Mobilizing France against Racism and Anti-Semitism” that was released by the French government earlier in April.