Senator Ben Cardin has been reinstated as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance.
Cardin first held this position in 2015. He worked to increase awareness of the persistent problem of prejudice and discrimination in the OSCE region. His work focused on addressing anti-Semitism, ant-Islam, migrant and refugee bias, as well as discrimination within the justice system. Previous work includes advising the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) on the implementation of agreed-upon policies and development of new strategies to empower and protect vulnerable communities.
“I am pleased to continue in my role as Special Representative, especially given recent attempts to explicitly divide communities for political gain without regard for the violence this foments and harm it does to our democracies,” said Cardin. “Earlier this month, I convened an event at the 2019 OSCE PA Annual Session where we discussed what more we as leaders can do to unify our societies. As Special Representative, I will continue to work with my colleagues toward a shared future where differences are embraced and the human rights of all are protected and respected.”
Cardin also seeks to promote dialogue and exchange of best practices within the OSCE PA. He coordinates with relevant participants within the OSCE to address prejudice and discrimination in the 57 OSCE-participating States from Europe, Asia and North America.
Within both the U.S. Congress and the OSCE PA, Cardin consistently has worked to address intolerance through the promotion of equality and respect for the individual. He is a leading Congressional advocate for the protection of migrants and refugees, which led to U.S. funding of civil society coalitions against anti-Semitism and racial and religious intolerance throughout the OSCE region. Within the OSCE PA, Cardin is a vocal advocate for more rigorous responses to anti-Semitic acts and intolerance across the OSCE area.
Cardin has been a long-time advocate for justice within Congress. Previous accomplishments include leading the End Racial and Religious Profiling and Democracy Restoration Acts and getting the Senate to pass a resolution in support of the goals and objectives of the Prague Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets.
Cardin also introduced the Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act, or LOVE Act, in 2017, which addressed the Lavender Scare in the 1950s-60s that saw the firing of around 1,000 LGBTQ individuals from the State Department and prevented many others from obtaining federal jobs based on perceived homosexuality. The act was passed earlier in 2019.
Cardin is also a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, holding one of five positions reserved for members of the House of Representatives.