Civil society representatives from Austria, Germany and Switzerland gained insight into effective methods for monitoring and responding to incidents of hate crimes against Muslims, at a workshop organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the non-governmental organization ReachOut in Berlin on 24 and 25 November 2012.
Thirty participants took part in the workshop, which focused on how to better identify hate crimes against Muslims and on the positive role civil society can play in responding to and combating these crimes.
“Hate crimes against Muslims are under-reported and under-recorded across the OSCE region, as indicated in ODIHR’s latest annual report on hate crimes,” said Taskin Tankut Soykan, the ODIHR Adviser on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims. “Non-governmental organizations should work closely with affected communities to raise awareness of hate crimes against Muslims.”
During the workshop, participants were familiarized with ODIHR's publications in this area, such as Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes: A Resource Guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region, and discussed examples of good practice with regard to recording and responding to hate crime.
Biplab Basu, the Director of ReachOut, said: “While it is primarily the responsibility of governments to combat hate crimes, civil society can play a decisive role in convincing local and national authorities to address hate crimes and in guiding their response.”
The workshop is part of ODIHR’s programme to enhance the capacity of civil society in preventing and responding to hate crimes. It is the fourth training session organized by ODIHR focusing on hate crimes against Muslims. Previous workshops were held in France, Spain and Bulgaria.