Countries across the OSCE region are experiencing racist incidents of an increasingly violent nature. Physical assaults, arson attacks and murders have become the sad reality of progressively more diverse societies.
Since 2004, the OSCE has put considerable effort into shaping policies and activities against racism. International OSCE conferences and Ministerial and Permanent Council Decisions (MC Decision 10/05, MC Decision 4/03, PC Decision 621) have identified the need to tackle racist violence with appropriate hate crime legislation and education.
In order to understand the phenomenon of racism, monitoring racist incidents is essential and constitutes one of ODIHR's central activities in this area. National legislation against racism, focused strategies and appropriate national structures (such as specialized institutions) are key aspects of fighting racism effectively. ODIHR advises governments on strategy and supports them in implementing schemes to combat violent expressions of racism.
Co-operation between the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the European Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and ODIHR has resulted in a strengthened and reinforced anti-racism message.
They have called on political leaders to speak out against all forms of violence motivated by racial hatred or xenophobia, and to act responsibly and refrain from providing simplistic explanations (with racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic connotations) for complex social, political and economic problems or phenomena.