OSCE/ODIHR trains Greek civil society network on combatting and reporting hate crimes
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) trained experts from Greek civil society on strategies for combatting and reporting hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents at a workshop in Athens on 18 and 19 February 2014.
31 participants from the Racist Violence Recording Network, a civil society umbrella organization, studied the distinctions between hate crime and related concepts, including discrimination and hate speech, as part of training aimed at expanding and reinforcing the capacities of their respective NGOs to systematically monitor, collect data and report on hate crimes.
“This training supports civil society not only in raising awareness of hate crimes and their impact, but also in reporting these crimes to the authorities,” said Peter Wittschorek, Adviser on Civil Society Relations at ODIHR. “The close contacts that these NGO activists have with individual victims and with the most vulnerable communities provide them with concrete data and information invaluable for assisting the authorities in combatting hate crime.”
“Training on how information on hate-motivated incidents can be used effectively by law-enforcement and judicial bodies is particularly important,” said Eleni Takou, Assistant Co-ordinator of the Racist Violence Recording Network. “Civil society groups are working to help governments identify and understand hate crimes, as well as the impact they have on victims and social cohesion in general.”
The Racist Violence Recording Network, which is co-ordinated by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Commission for Human Rights, includes 35 Greek NGOs and was set up in 2011 with assistance from ODIHR. The Network has helped improve the reporting of hate crimes by Greek NGOs, including in providing detailed information on racist-motivated incidents in 2012 for ODIHR’s annual report Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region – Incidents and Responses.