Co-operation in combating hate crimes in focus at regional OSCE conference in Sarajevo
SARAJEVO, 22 October 2013 – Challenges related to the effective application of hate crimes legislation and data collection were the focus of a regional conference organized by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina that concluded today in Sarajevo.
The conference gathered 50 participants from South-Eastern Europe representing government agencies, judicial institutions and civil society.
“Hate crimes as manifestations of intolerance and prejudice undermine the human rights of individuals, carry the seeds of potential conflict and threaten the basic fabric of any society,” Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Nina Suomalainen said. “Tackling hate crimes is therefore vital for the stability and security of every country.”
The conference provided a venue for national and OSCE representatives to exchange experiences on data collection and legislative challenges relating to hate crimes, as well as to discuss mechanisms of inter-institutional co-operation. Participants discussed the importance of collecting, maintaining and publicising of reliable data and statistics on hate crimes for devising effective and appropriate policy responses and prevention measures. It was emphasized during the conference that an effective legal framework that explicitly condemns bias motives sends a strong message to victims, perpetrators and society as a whole that hate crimes are to be taken seriously and cannot be tolerated.
“Ensuring stability at the local level is essential for ensuring stability in relations among neighbouring states and in the broader region. Co-operation in preventing and addressing hate crimes is central to sustainable peace and security both nationally and regionally,” Suomalainen said.