ADC Highlights Best Practices, Calls on US to Abide by International Obligations at OSCE Meeting in Vienna
Washington, DC | May, 29 2008 | www.adc.org | Today, during the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) “Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on the Role of National Institutions against Discrimination in Combating Racism and Xenophobia” (SHDM) in Vienna, Austria, Kareem Shora, National Executive Director for the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC) submitted several expert interventions highlighting best practices in the US while calling on the US Government to abide by its international obligations in combating anti-Muslim intolerance and promoting non-discrimination policies pursuant to the Madrid OSCE Ministerial Council decision No. 10/07 and other recommendations.
This is part of ADC’s participation as a subject-matter expert in three OSCE events in Vienna and Warsaw, Poland (For more information see: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3311 ).
During today’s discussions, ADC participated in the preparation of civil society recommendations for the SHDM. ADC highlighted the increased use of the “fight against extremism” and the “war on terrorism” as a pretext to curtail civil rights. ADC provided a recent Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee report on “Violent Islamic Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat” and the now discredited 2007 New York City Police Department Report recommending particular scrutiny of American
Muslimns (See: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3309 ) as recent examples of this troubling trend in the United States. Other civil society representatives from across the OSCE region echoed this concern which was later adopted as one of the recommendations for the OSCE member states.
Additionally, ADC urged the US Government to abide by its international obligations and positively respond to recommendations issued by international organizations, including the OSCE and the United Nations (UN). As an example, ADC highlighted the February 2008 recommendations by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) stating that “measures taken in the fight against terrorism must not discriminate, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin” and urging the US “to put an end to the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS)and to eliminate other forms of racial profiling against Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians.” (For more information see: http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/humanrights/cerd_concluding_report.pdf ).
Finally, best practices used by ADC as examples to emulate by OSCE member states included the Diversity and Law Enforcement Outreach Program (LEOP) which to date has trained over 12,000 law enforcement personnel in the US and the constructive outreach efforts and coordination by some US Government agencies in the past five years spearheaded by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). ADC distributed one-hundred copies of a training DVD entitled “Inroduction to Arab American and Muslim American Cultures Course for DHS Personnel” produced by DHS CRCL and ADC which is routinely utilized by US law enforcement agencies to defeat stereotypes and provide an accurate picture of the Arab and Muslim American communities.
In March 2007, ADC participated in the OSCE ODIHR Conference on the Role of
Civil Society in Preventing Terrorism (See: https://www.adc.org/index.php? id=3060 ). Following that conference ADC and the Canadian Arab Federation
(CAF) announced their coordination effort in addressing the role of civil society within the context of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). ADC and CAF announced their commitment to this coordination process to better provide constructive contributions within the OSCE context and continue to serve as a reliable and accurate source of information from the United States and Canada for the ODIHR as it implements its mandates (See: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3075 ).
The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization whose 55 participating states span the geographical area from Vancouver to Vladivostok. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is the specialized institution of the OSCE dealing with elections, human rights, and democratization The ODIHR was founded in 1995 and is based in Warsaw, Poland.
It is active throughout the OSCE area in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and rule of law. To learn more about the OSCE, visit: www.osce.org.