Comprehensive approach to countering intolerance against Muslims the focus of OSCE conference in Vienna
Identifying strategies to counter intolerance against Muslims was the focus of a conference organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the 2016 German Chairmanship, in Vienna on 19 February 2016.
During the conference, "A Holistic Approach to Addressing Intolerance and Discrimination Against Muslims in the OSCE Region", participants identified areas where current efforts can be strengthened, including addressing discrimination against Muslim women, the role of education and the media in promoting tolerance, and ensuring the security of Muslim communities.
"Recommendations from participants will enable us to enhance and refine our existing efforts to effectively support civil society and governments," said Beatriz Balbin, ODIHR First Deputy Director. "In so doing, we recognize the different impacts intolerance can have on men and women, and make sure that our efforts fit the needs of communities."
Anna Stamou of the Muslim Association of Greece, said: "This conference is a good opportunity to assess the progress made on this issue over the past years and set a clear course for the future. I think that it is especially important that ODIHR recognizes the challenges that affect different parts of the community and focuses on issues like discrimination against women and countering negative stereotypes against the media."
Bülent Şenay, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, delivered concluding remarks.
This conference builds on a series of activities undertaken by ODIHR to address intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, including expert workshops on discrimination by Muslim women, programmes to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies and civil society to address and respond to hate crimes, and an expert meeting to compile good practices to end negative portrayals of Muslims in the media.