OSCE Ambassadors and U.S. Helsinki Commission Reaffirm Human Rights During Memorial Visit to Auschwitz

PRESS RELEASE | September 19, 2014

On September 21, 2014, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security Cooperation Europe (OSCE) Ambassador Daniel Baer, joined by U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner, will lead a group of eight fellow Ambassadors on a trip to Auschwitz. The group will tour Auschwitz and Birkenau and will lay a wreath to remember those who perished there.

This study visit is co-hosted by the Commission on Security Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), whose delegation is led by Ambassador David Killion. The tour will precede the start of the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) to be held in Warsaw, Poland from September 22 through October 3. The Head of the US Delegation to HDIM, Brian Atwood, will also join the trip to Auschwitz.

The trip was organized to provide ambassadors the opportunity to stand witness to the crimes against humanity and genocide perpetuated at Auschwitz, and reaffirm the importance of basic human rights. “This trip not only honors those who tragically lost their lives there, it renews our commitment to broader human rights and the motivation for annually convening to review OSCE commitments in the Human Dimension,” stated Ambassador Baer.

This year’s trip is especially timely, given the increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric, vandalism and violence facing many Jewish communities worldwide. The U.S. government is monitoring reported incidents; reaching out to Jewish leaders to better assess conditions on the ground; and working closely through diplomatic channels to encourage governments to speak out against the rise in anti-Semitic threats and violence, and to ensure the security of Jewish communities.

“We urge others in the OSCE to also express their deep concern about the prevalence and pervasiveness of anti-Semitic threats and attacks against Jewish individuals, houses of worship, and businesses during the past few months,” Ambassador Baer said.

Kathleen Eagen, Public Affairs Adviser at the U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Tel. (+43-1) 31 339 3422
Cell: (+43) 664 322 9879
E-mail: EagenKM@state.gov