Hate crime remains a threat not only to victims, but to security, cohesion and development, ODIHR Director says on release of annual report
WARSAW, 15 November 2013 – Hate-motivated violence not only does great harm to the individuals and groups targeted, but also poses a threat to security, social cohesion and development in the OSCE region, Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said on the release today of the Office’s annual report on hate crime.
The report, “Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region – Incidents and Responses”, released ahead of the 16 November International Day for Tolerance, finds that hate crime continues to be a serious problem across the OSCE region.
“Hate crimes have a deep impact on the communities they target, and bring severe – sometimes fatal – harm to their victims. It is the responsibility of governments throughout the OSCE region to do all they can to prevent these crimes,” Lenarčič said. “This is even more the case given the negative effects hate-motivated violence has on societies in general.”
The report, which identifies a spectrum of violence including threats, vandalism, assault, arson and murder, was presented at a meeting in Warsaw of representatives from 35 OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, responsible for reporting on hate crimes in their respective countries.
Focusing on the need for a comprehensive approach to effectively combat hate-motivated violence, the participants shared challenges and good practices in policing, prosecution and data-collection from across the region.
“Even though a number of steps have been taken by the OSCE and by individual states to effectively respond to the problem of hate crimes, the level of bias-motivated violence across the region remains a cause for serious concern,” Floriane Hohenberg, Head of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department at ODIHR, told the meeting, “Another serious challenge is incomplete data on hate crime and information about what works to address it.”
The report includes separate sections on racist and anti-Semitic crimes; on violence against Roma and Sinti, Muslims, Christians and members of other religions; and on crimes committed with other bias motivations. The report is based on the data received from the 40 participating States who responded to a request for information by ODIHR, as well as on reports of hate crime incidents from 149 NGOs across the region.
The report is available at: http://tandis.odihr.pl/hcr2012/