Chachipe reported three assaults in a Roma community.
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Report Data - no country - 2009
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Within the framework of the project “Working with the Police and Challenging Hate Crimes in Europe”, ILGA-Europe conducted research in the field of monitoring, victim support and hate crime prevention. This included a roundtable on 12-13 December 2009 with members of the European Gay Police Association and LGBT NGOs to provide the basis for a handbook on good practices to be published in 2010.
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) published a booklet titled “Combating Racist Crime and Violence”. The booklet aims to raise awareness, encourage victims to speak out, and influence policy and lawmakers to implement adequate measures for protection.
A number of NGOs reported an increase in the number of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents during the conflict in the Gaza Strip in early 2009. These included assaults, attacks on religious buildings, threats and intolerant speech. Such incidents were reported, for example, in France, Spain and the United States.
According to the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the local Ministry of Justice reported three hate crimes. The Mission itself reported that there had been attacks with stones on vehicles in ten cases related to ethnic tensions. Eight of these were aimed at Kosovo Serbs and two at Kosovo Albanians. All cases were reported to the police. These incidents should be viewed in the wider context of inter-ethnic tensions in this part of the OSCE region.
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo reported the same three assaults in a Roma community. The Kosovo police opened an investigation without delay and introduced patrols to increase security. Charges were brought in two cases, which were given a high priority by the court.
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), quoting media and NGO information, reported incidents in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo reported the burglary of an Orthodox church. It also reported two incidents of vandalism and burglary against another Orthodox church. The Mission also reported the repeated desecration of an Orthodox cemetery. The cases were investigated and, in one instance, the perpetrators were identified. These incidents should be viewed in the wider context of inter-ethnic tensions in this part of the OSCE region.
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo reported that, in 2009, the police commenced implementation of the operational order “Security of Serbian religious and cultural sites”, aimed at protecting 17 sites of religious and cultural heritage, most of them belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In March 2009, ODIHR organized a roundtable on intolerance and discrimination against Christians in the OSCE region. The roundtable was attended by representatives of participating States, religious communities, NGOs and experts. Recommendations to participating States included a proposal for improved monitoring and data collection on hate crimes against Christians, with particular attention to violent attacks and the desecration of cemeteries.
The OSCE Chairperson in Office’s Personal Representative on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions went on a joint visit with the other Personal Representatives to Canada and the United States. He stressed the importance of recording of hate crimes against Christians and members of other religions.
The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe published a paper on the issue of “Human Rights and Gender Identity,” citing the high rate of harassment and abuse suffered by transgender persons and the increased risk of becoming victims of hate crimes.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published the second part of its report on homophobia titled “The Social Situation”. The report includes a comparison between legal-protection standards for hate crimes and reported incidents in Member States of the European Union, and concludes that violence against LGBT persons is widespread.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted concern over racial and xenophobic crimes in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe mentioned racism and xenophobia in his reports on visits to Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the UN Human Rights Council, in their periodic country review reports, made a number of recommendations related to addressing racism and xenophobia in OSCE participating States. The CERD recommendations were included in reports on the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia. The Human Rights Council recommendations related to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia.
The EU Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law was adopted in November 2008.69 The decision seeks to ensure harmonization across the European Union of clear and comprehensive legislation with respect to racist and xenophobic crimes. Article 4 of the decision requires that racist and xenophobic motives for criminal acts be considered as aggravating features of crimes that courts should take account of when imposing sentences.
EU Member States are required to review their legislation for compliance with the framework decision by November 2010. ODIHR followed up with the EU to obtain information on states that had harmonized their legislation in accordance with the decision but that information was still under examination by the relevant agencies at the time of writing of this report.
The OSCE Ministerial Council, meeting in Athens in December 2009, adopted a decision on “Combating Hate Crimes”, the first decision ever adopted by the OSCE dealing entirely with this issue. The decision expressed concern over hate crimes throughout the OSCE region and called on participating States to take a number of steps to address the problem, which included collecting reliable data, tailoring appropriate legislation, assisting victims and raising awareness.
In May 2009, ODIHR and the OSCE Chairmanship organized a Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in Vienna on “Hate Crimes – Effective Implementation of Legislation”. The meeting raised awareness about the need for political leadership to combat hate crimes. It also allowed for a discussion of practices and challenges in this field and assisted participating States in taking stock of their progress in the implementation of commitments in this area.
ODIHR issued two new publications in 2009 to assist participating States and civil society organizations in addressing hate crimes more effectively. Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide provides guidance for lawmakers and others on effective approaches to drafting hate crime legislation. Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes: A Resource Guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region provides practical advice on how NGOs can most effectively respond to hate crime and includes a list of useful resources.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) encouraged Belgium, the Czech Republic and Switzerland to improve implementation of legislation “to combat racist and xenophobic violence”. ECRI recommended that the authorities in Bulgaria and Slovakia conduct campaigns to raise awareness of the seriousness of racist crimes and of the fact that the perpetrators would be duly punished.
During the 2009 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, ODIHR, Spain and the United States organized an event on intolerance against Muslims. The main recommendation produced at the event was to build coalitions between governments and civil society to effectively combat intolerance against Muslims.
In March 2009, in response to the perceived increase of anti-Semitism related to the conflict in the Gaza Strip, ODIHR organized a roundtable for civil society representatives in co-operation with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office on Combating anti-Semitism. NGOs from, in particular, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom noted a comparative increase in incidents during the period of the Gaza conflict in January 2009. Participants discussed issues of concern, current priorities and challenges in combating anti-Semitism.
Eight participating States invited the Personal Representative to undertake country visits, in which ODIHR also participated. The Personal Representative recommended the implementation of relevant hate crime legislation, capacity building for law enforcement and educators, and collection of data. He called on politicians to publicly condemn anti-Semitism.
ODIHR organized a number of events and activities to address the problems of racism and xenophobia. In May, ODIHR and the OSCE Chairmanship organized a Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on “Hate Crimes – Effective Implementation of Legislation”. This meeting highlighted the importance of improving legislation on hate crimes and identifying the barriers to effective implementation of such legislation. In addition, as mentioned earlier, ODIHR published two practical handbooks: Hate Crimes Laws – a Practical Guide, and Preventing and Responding to Hate Crimes, A Resource Guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region. Throughout the year, ODIHR continued to provide support to OSCE participating States in the area of police training on hate crimes.
The continuing global economic downturn in 2009 contributed to public expressions of racism and xenophobia. This issue was discussed at a roundtable meeting entitled “Racism in the OSCE region: Old issues, New Challenges”, organized by ODIHR in March 2009, at which participants explored the relationship between hate crime and the economic crisis. This issue was also reflected in the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision on Combating Hate Crimes, adopted on 2 December 2009 in Athens, in which participating States recognized “that the global economic downturn may increase incidents of hate crimes in the OSCE area”.
The United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism hosted an international conference on combating anti-Semitism in London in February 2009. The result of the conference was the London Declaration, which urges Governments to uphold OSCE commitments on combating anti-Semitism. Subsequently, the inter-party Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism was established. It launched an inquiry on contemporary anti-Semitism and measures to confront it. A report to the government is expected during 2010.