Overview of ODIHR's efforts

ODIHR Headquarters (Warsaw, Poland)

Effectively countering hate crime requires a comprehensive effort bringing together government institutions, criminal justice systems, civil society actors and international organizations. ODIHR has developed a series of programmes to help states and civil society groups achieve these aims.


Related commitments and recommendations

ODIHR has been tasked to:

  • serve as a "collecting point for information and statistics collected by participating States" (MC DEC. 4/03, MC DEC. 12/04 Annex PC DEC. 607, Annex PC. DEC. 621); "to continue serving as a collecting point….[for] relevant legislation" (MC DEC. 13/06)

  • "report its findings … and make its findings public" (PC DEC. 607, PC. DEC. 621); "Report regularly" (MC DEC. 4/03); "make its findings publicly available through TANDIS and its Report on Challenges and Responses to Hate-motivated Incidents in the OSCE region" (MC DEC. 13/06)

  • "report regularly on these issues as a basis for deciding on priorities for future work" (MC DEC. 4/03); "these reports should be taken into account to decide on priorities of the OSCE in the area of tolerance" (MC Dec. 13/06)


Recording hate crimes

A courthouse in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.

(OSCE/Marharyta Zhesko)

ODIHR supports government officials in designing and developing monitoring mechanisms and data collection on hate crime.


Related commitments and recommendations

Data collection. The lack of accurate, comprehensive data on hate crimes undermines the ability of states to understand fully and to deal effectively with the problem. OSCE participating States should:

  • Collect, maintain and make public reliable data and statistics in sufficient detail on hate crimes and violent manifestations of intolerance, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council. Such data and statistics should include the number of cases reported to law-enforcement authorities, the number of cases prosecuted and the sentences imposed. Where data-protection laws restrict collection of data on victims, states should consider methods for collecting data that are in compliance with such laws;
  • Consider creating systems for data collection that separate hate crimes from other crimes and that disaggregate bias motivations; and
  • Take appropriate measures to encourage victims to report hate crimes.

Programmatic activities. Participating States, Non-governmental organizations, the OSCE and other international organizations all have important roles to play – individually and collaboratively – in developing activities and projects aimed at countering hate crimes. Many initiatives that could serve as models or inspiration for other participating States or organizations are already underway around the OSCE region. Types of activities that could be considered for implementation include:

  • Exploring ways to provide victims of hate crimes with access to counselling, legal and consular assistance, as well as effective access to justice, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Public-awareness raising, including ensuring that the public understands the nature and scope of hate crimes, and encouraging the public to report offences and assist law-enforcement bodies in apprehending and prosecuting offenders;
  • Fostering the establishment of national institutions or specialized bodies, the development and implementation of national strategies and action plans in this field, and the promotion of inter-ethnic and inter-cultural dialogue, including in its religious dimension;
  • Supporting the use of telephone hotlines for victims of hate crimes to report the crimes and seek resources for assistance and support; and
  • Encouraging public discourse aimed at preventing and responding to hate crimes.

Supporting law makers

A courthouse in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France.

(OSCE/Marharyta Zhesko)

ODIHR helps participating States design and draft legislation that effectively addresses hate crimes. To that end, ODIHR has developed a practical guide assisting law makers in fulfilment of this role. On the request of the participating States, ODIHR also reviews and comments on draft versions of hate crime legislation.


Related commitments and recommendations

Adoption of adequate legislation to define and punish hate crimes is a key first step in addressing the problem. Participating States should:

  • Enact, where appropriate, specific, tailored legislation to combat hate crime, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council,498 providing for effective penalties that take into account the gravity of such crimes; and
  • Review existing legislation as appropriate to ensure, in particular, that there is specific provision for hate crimes to be subject to enhanced sentencing. The ODIHR publication Hate Crime Laws – A Practical Guide could serve as a reference tool for such reviews.

Training police

TAHCLE

A law enforcement officer participates in a TAHCLE session in Croatia.

(OSCE)

Training against hate crimes for law enforcement (TAHCLE)

Training against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) is a programme designed to improve police skills in recognizing, understanding and investigating hate crimes, interacting effectively with victim communities, and building public confidence and co-operation with other law-enforcement agencies.


Related commitments and recommendations

Participating States should consider further measures to ensure that law-enforcement officials are well equipped to prevent and respond effectively to hate crimes. Measures could include:

  • Promptly investigating hate crimes and ensuring that the motives of those convicted of hate crimes are acknowledged and publicly condemned by the relevant authorities and by the political leadership, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Ensuring co-operation, where appropriate, at the national and international levels, including with relevant international bodies and between police forces, to combat violent organized hate crime, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Providing adequate security to vulnerable communities and investing in necessary resources to protect vulnerable community institutions and places of worship, cemeteries, faith-based schools and religious heritage sites;
  • Ensuring that individuals and groups can exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in safety and without discrimination;
  • Conducting awareness-raising and education efforts, particularly with law-enforcement authorities, directed towards communities and civil society groups that assist victims of hate crimes, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Encouraging systems of reporting by third parties for victims who are unable or unwilling to report hate crimes directly to police and criminal-justice agencies;
  • Introducing or further developing professional training and capacity-building activities for law-enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials dealing with hate crimes, including training and resources to enable law-enforcement officers to identify, investigate and register bias motives, and ensuring that prosecutors have been trained on how to present evidence of bias motivation;
  • Making use of ODIHR’s programme on Training against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement;
  • Building better relationships between criminal-justice agencies and victim groups, with a view to encouraging victims to report hate crimes and witnesses to contribute to solving and prosecuting hate crimes;
  • Diversifying membership of law-enforcement and prosecution agencies, so as to increase representation of minority groups;
  • Developing and implementing targeted prevention programmes and initiatives to combat hate crimes; and
  • Drawing on resources developed by ODIHR in the area of education, training and awareness-raising to ensure a comprehensive approach to tackling hate crime.

Training prosecutors

Prosecutors and Hate Crime Training (PAHCT)

(ODIHR/OSCE)

Prosecutors and Hate Crimes Training (PAHCT)

ODIHR provides training that builds the capacity of participating States’ criminal justice systems. PAHCT is designed to improve the skills of prosecutors in understanding, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. In doing so, it helps prevent hate crime and build constructive ties with marginalized groups.

The programmed is tailored to the needs and experiences of each country in which it is used. PAHCT is short, compact and flexible. It is designed to be integrated into existing training efforts.


Related commitments and recommendations

Participating States should consider further measures to ensure that magistrates and prosecutors are well equipped to prevent and respond effectively to hate crimes. Measures could include:

  • Ensuring co-operation, where appropriate, at the national and international levels, including with relevant international bodies and between police forces, to combat violent organized hate crime, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Conducting awareness-raising and education efforts, particularly with law-enforcement authorities, directed towards communities and civil society groups that assist victims of hate crimes, in line with Decision 9/09 of the OSCE Ministerial Council;
  • Encouraging systems of reporting by third parties for victims who are unable or unwilling to report hate crimes directly to police and criminal-justice agencies;
  • Introducing or further developing professional training and capacity-building activities for law-enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials dealing with hate crimes, including training and resources to enable law-enforcement officers to identify, investigate and register bias motives, and ensuring that prosecutors have been trained on how to present evidence of bias motivation;
  • Building better relationships between criminal-justice agencies and victim groups, with a view to encouraging victims to report hate crimes and witnesses to contribute to solving and prosecuting hate crimes;
  • Diversifying membership of law-enforcement and prosecution agencies, so as to increase representation of minority groups; and
  • Drawing on resources developed by ODIHR in the area of education, training and awareness-raising to ensure a comprehensive approach to tackling hate crime.

Working with civil society

Larry Olomofe, ODIHR's Advisor for Combating Racism and Xenophobia, addresses participants at a workshop for NGOs on reporting and monitoring hate crimes against Roma and Sinti, Warsaw, 13 April 2011.

(OSCE/Curtis Budden)

Civil society plays a crucial role in monitoring and reporting hate crimes. Data provided by NGOs form an important part of ODIHR’s hate crime data collection and offer indispensable context to participating States’ reporting on hate crimes.

ODIHR helps raise awareness of hate crimes among civil society and international organizations. It provides information about the characteristics of hate crimes and their impact on the stability and security of the community. ODIHR also supports civil society efforts to monitor and report hate crimes, NGOs outreach efforts in their communities and foster relationships between community groups and law enforcement so that victims feel confident to report crimes. ODIHR also encourages civil society advocacy for better hate crime laws.


Related commitments and recommendations

Civil society organizations are particularly well placed to supplement participating States’ activities to address hate crime, especially by monitoring incidents and assisting victims. ODIHR will, therefore, continue to strengthen its co-operation with non-governmental organizations active in hate crime monitoring, recording and reporting as one important source of information about hate crime developments in participating States. States can also benefit from increasing co-operation with civil society in a number of ways. OSCE participating States should consider:

  • Exploring methods for facilitating the contribution of civil society to combating hate crime;
  • Conducting outreach and education with communities and civil society groups in order to increase confidence in law-enforcement agencies and to encourage better reporting of hate crimes;
  • Encouraging and supporting civil society organizations in providing assistance to victims;
  • Supporting efforts, in co-operation with civil society, to counter incitement to imminent violence and hate crimes, including through the Internet, while respecting freedom of expression; and
  • Creating local partnerships between civil society and law-enforcement agencies to report regularly on issues of concern and follow up on incidents. This can also serve as an early warning of rising tensions and enable proper resource allocation.

Working with educators

Ilya Lensky, Director of the Jews in Latvia Museum, speaks at a workshop on collecting data on anti-Semitic hate crimes as Melissa Sonnino, Community Affairs Coordinator at CEJI - A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, listens.

Warsaw, 18 December 2012. (OSCE/Shiv Sharma)

Educators play a fundamental role in countering intolerance and discrimination. ODIHR works to support participating States that have committed themselves to promoting educational programmes that counter intolerance and promote mutual respect and understanding.

ODIHR, together with the Council of Europe and UNESCO, has developed guidelines for educators to counter intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. As well, in co-operation with national experts, ODIHR and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam have developed teaching materials to combat anti-Semitism. ODIHR continues to develop educational tools and strategies to counter the biases that can lead to hate crime.


Related commitments and recommendations

Participating States, non-governmental and other organizations, the OSCE and other intergovernmental organizations all have important roles to play – individually and collaboratively – in developing activities and projects aimed at countering hate crime. Many initiatives that could serve as models or inspiration for other participating States or organizations are already in place around the OSCE region. Types of activities that could be considered include:

  • Implementing comprehensive education programmes aimed at countering discrimination and promoting human rights, and that confront prejudice and stereotypes in preschool, primary, secondary and post-secondary schools;
  • Making use of educational materials such as ODIHR’s Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education and ODIHR’s Addressing Anti-Semitism: Why and How, a Guide for Educators.