Helping civil society better respond to hate crimes against Christians was the focus of a seminar organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and hosted by the Italian Foreign Ministry, in Rome on 26 and 27 June 2012.
More than 40 representatives from civil society organizations active in combating intolerance against Christians across the OSCE region took part in the seminar to better identify hate crimes and learn about the international standards pertaining to freedom of religion or belief.
Participants also discussed the positive role the civil society can play in responding to hate crimes against Christians, and were presented ODIHR's publications in this area, such as Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes: A Resource Guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region and Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide.
“Civil society organizations often work closely with communities affected by hate-motivated violence and can play an important role in supporting authorities in their efforts to respond to hate crimes,” said Matilde Fruncillo, ODIHR’s Advisor on Civil Society Relations.
The seminar was organized to follow up on discussions at a high-level meeting “Preventing and Responding to Hate Incidents and Crimes against Christians” held in September 2011, also in Rome. One of the main recommendations from that meeting was to intensify the monitoring of hate crimes, both by civil society and by governments.