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What do we know

Participating States have committed themselves to pass legislation that provides for penalties that take into account the gravity of hate crime, to take action to address under-reporting, and to introduce or further develop capacity-building activities for law enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials to prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Specifically, states have repeatedly committed themselves to collect, maintain and make public reliable data on hate crimes, across the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. In recent years, participating States have consolidated their commitments on hate crime in recognition of the importance of a comprehensive approach in addressing the many facets of the problem.

As the OSCE institution focusing on the human dimension of security, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has been tasked with supporting states in their efforts to meet this range of commitments, and to support the efforts of civil society actors working to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

Every year, ODIHR presents consistent and reliable information from participating States, civil society organizations and inter-governmental organizations on hate crimes, notable incidents and policy responses. This data is released on International Tolerance Day, which falls on 16 November.

Much of the information and data presented on this website has been provided by National Points of Contact on Combating Hate Crimes (NPCs), appointed by the governments of participating States. Particular attention is devoted to gathering data relating to the specific bias motivations on which ODIHR has been asked to focus.


Hate crime reporting in 2014

Forty-three participating States submitted hate crime information for 2014, 17 of which provided detailed statistics in accordance with the bias motivations on which ODIHR reports. In addition, 122 civil society groups have submitted information on incidents in 46 countries. This information is supplemented by data submitted by seven OSCE field operations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

While the general level of reporting to ODIHR remains comparable to previous years, limited data on some bias motivations continue to indicate under-reporting and gaps in recording.

Learn more about our annual hate crime reporting here.


Changes in data from year to year say more about recording methodologies than the actual prevalence and impact of hate crimes. For example, higher figures might simply mean that countries are recording hate crimes more diligently or that victims are reporting these crimes to the authorities more often. Simultaneously, lower figures do not necessarily mean that fewer hate crimes are being committed; they may be an indication of under-reporting by victims or inability to record reported hate crimes by the authorities.  

Under-reporting remains a key challenge. Many victims do not come forward to report hate crimes. This happens for a number of reasons, ranging from language barriers to mistrust in the authorities or fear of reprisals. ODIHR works closely with civil society to overcome this challenge and promote and assist in co-operation between civil society and governments.

It is also difficult to track cases with bias motivations at all stages, from investigation through to sentencing, due to different recording procedures across the criminal justice system. For instance, police forces may use different definitions than prosecutors.

Learn more about ODIHR’s programmes here