What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is a crime that is motivated by intolerance towards a certain group within society. For a criminal act to qualify as a hate crime, it must meet two criteria:
· The act must be a crime under the criminal code of the legal jurisdiction in which it is committed;
· The crime must have been committed with a bias motivation.
“Bias motivation” means that the perpetrator chose the target of the crime on the basis of protected characteristics.
A “protected characteristic” is a fundamental or core characteristic that is shared by a group, such as “race”, religion, ethnicity, language or sexual orientation.
The target of a hate crime may be a person, people or property associated with a group that shares a protected characteristic.
Why is ODIHR involved in the issue of hate crimes?
Hate crimes constitute a serious breach of human rights and have a deep impact on victim communities. If left unaddressed, hate crimes pose a potential threat to domestic and international security, thus undermining societal cohesion by sowing the seeds of conflict and wider-scale violence. Therefore, participating States have made a number of commitments to combat hate crime, and ODIHR supports states in their implementation of those commitments.
How is ODIHR involved?
· Producing an annual report on hate crime – Incidents and Responses – to highlight the prevalence of hate crimes and good practices that participating States and civil society have adopted to tackle them;
· Helping participating States to design and draft legislation that effectively addresses hate crimes;
· Providing training that builds the capacity of participating States’ criminal justice systems and the law-enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges that staff them;
· Raising awareness of hate crimes among governmental officials, civil society and international organizations;
· Supporting the efforts of civil society to monitor and report hate crimes.