Smith Resolution on Fighting Child Sex Trafficking Adopted at Conference of European Lawmakers
Conference Also Adopts Smith Amendment to Fight Anti-Semitism
Child sex trafficking and anti-Semitism were the subjects of Rep. Chris Smith’s successful legislative efforts this week at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.
Baku, Azerbaijan—Child sex trafficking and anti-Semitism were the subjects of Rep. Chris Smith’s successful legislative efforts this week at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly. The Assembly, consisting of parliamentarians representing the 57 countries that make up the OSCE, conducted its 22nd annual conference from June 28-July 2, at which parliamentarians from member states discussed their response to the Ukraine crisis, human rights violations in a number of member states, and other foreign policy issues. Rep. Smith (NJ-04) was the head of the eight-member U.S. Delegation to the Assembly.
Smith’s resolution on child sex trafficking urged member states to adopt a series of specific measures that would protect child victims, promote effective prosecution of offenders, and coordinate action between countries in the event of international travel by convicted child sex offenders. The resolution contained many elements of Smith’s International Megan’s Law, H.R. 4573, passed by the House of Representatives on May 20. Click here to see the debate on Smith’s resolution.
The conference also adopted Rep. Smith’s amendment on anti-Semitism, re-affirming the unambiguous condemnation of anti-Semitism by the 2004 Berlin Declaration. The Declaration resulted from Smith’s initiative to put the issue of fighting anti-Semitism on the OSCE agenda, as anti-Semitism had made a frightening resurgence sometimes masked as opposition to Israel. Smith’s efforts resulted in a series of high-level conferences, the chief of which was the 2004 Berlin Conference, attended by Smith and then-Secretary of State Powell, at which the organization’s members committed themselves to concrete steps in the fight against anti-Semitism. In the past year, Smith has supported Rabbi Andy Baker, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism, in his efforts to review progress on those commitments.
Smith also addressed the lawmakers, urging them to renew and increase their commitment to combating anti-Semitic and anti-Christian extremism. Click here to see Smith’s remarks, excerpted below:
“I would point out to my colleagues that just two months ago the Anti-Defamation League released the largest survey ever on anti-Semitism: more than 53,000 people were interviewed in 102 countries, covering approximately 86% of the world’s population. They found that 26% of those polled had deeply anti-Semitic views. The worst place of all, not surprisingly, was the Middle East and Northern Africa.
“We need to be doing more, Mr. Chairman, and I do believe with the 10-year anniversary commemoration coming up for the Berlin Action Plan, that very, very watershed event, we need as a Parliamentary Assembly to be redoubling our effort.
“By way of background, Mr. Chairman, members should know that at the Berlin 2002 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I sponsored the first resolution on combating anti-Semitism. Also in 2002 I chaired a congressional hearing on anti-Semitism in Washington and proposed that the OSCE itself schedule a major conference on combating anti-Semitism.
“As many of you know, the Bush Administration agreed and U.S. Ambassador Stephan Minikes worked with his fellow ambassadors to make those conferences – because it became plural – a reality. The first conference was held in Vienna, followed by the conference in Berlin, in 2004. And we are now at Berlin +10 and it is time to begin the assessment of where we have been and where we need to be.
“In Berlin the OSCE adopted a comprehensive plan of action, including chronicling acts of anti-Semitic hate, trying to make systemic changes in our legal systems, and of course Holocaust education so that young men and young women would be sensitized to the terrible bias that underlies anti-Semitism.
“It was in Berlin that Natan Sharansky defined the newest, emerging manifestation of anti-Semitism, which he described as the Three D’s – first, demonization of Israel, double standards applied to Israel and other countries, and de-legitimization of Israel’s right to exist, the third D. He said everyone has the right to disagree with Israeli policies, but very often those disagreements simply camouflage underlying anti-Semitic hate.
After urging a redoubling of the efforts in each country to combat anti-Semitism, Smith also focused on the increasing incidents of Christian persecution world-wide:
“I just returned, Mr. Chairman, from Nigeria – I was in Jos last September, and I was in Abuja three weeks ago. I met with many survivors who’ve had their homes raided by night, particularly in the northern three states, but also below those three states. One man I met in an IDP camp in September, Habila Adamu, told me that a gun was put to his head: ‘renounce your faith, become a Muslim or you die!’ He said, ‘I’m ready to meet my Lord.’ He was shot; he survived with half his face blown away. That is the reality of what these extremist groups are all about.”