You are here

Our methodology

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.

ODIHR’s annual hate crime reporting cycle comprises several stages. First, the Office issues a call for submissions to OSCE participating States, civil society organizations and its partner intergovernmental organizations. Second, ODIHR analyses reported data and information, and assesses whether it can be included in the report. Third, the Office releases data for consultation with participating States and other contributors. Lastly, ODIHR reviews suggested amendments to the report, updates to include late submissions, and prepares the information for final presentation.

Information from ODIHR’s national points of contact (NPCs)

NPCs in participating States are given individual access to a web-based questionnaire, which covers the following areas:

  1. Data-collection methods: which authorities collect data, which bias motivations and types of crimes are recorded, and whether and, if so, how data are shared publicly and used by participating States;

  2. Legislation: what types of offences, biases and penalty enhancements are included, and whether there are any new developments in this area;

  3. Reported hate crime data: the number of hate crimes officially recorded, what data are collected by the police, prosecutors and/or the courts, and what type of incidents they cover;

  1. Policies and initiatives: whether there are training and/or victim-support programmes in place, or more general government and civil society/IGO programmes that have taken place during the past year; and

  2. Notable cases: high profile or sensitive cases that merited a specific response from police and other criminal justice agencies.

When reviewing submissions for inclusion on the website, ODIHR follows two basic rules: the crime, activity or change in the law must have taken place during the relevant year; and the information must fall within the OSCE’s definition of a hate crime.

NPCs are consulted about the presentation of their country information before it is published on the website. ODIHR carefully considers NPC feedback and, where relevant, corrects or modifies it before publication.

Information from civil society groups

Civil society groups respond to ODIHR’s call for submissions by either preparing separate reports that follow our hate crime reporting methodology but may not be in the public domain, or by providing more general reports that are publicly available. ODIHR also identifies relevant reports to include in our hate crimes reporting. We analyse hundreds of civil society reports and carefully follow up on and clarify information about specific incidents to ensure that they are accurately reported.

Cases reported by civil society are recorded and published as "incidents" as opposed to "crimes". This is because ODIHR cannot verify whether incidents reported by civil society groups can be classified as crimes. In addition, while we clearly indicate cases when the same incident is reported by more than one organization, these are not always possible to identify. In such cases, all incidents are presented on the website as reported.

Civil society incidents are not necessarily comparable to officially recorded hate crimes. There may be a number of reasons why civil society and official numbers differ. For example, some incidents are only reported to civil society and not to the authorities, while different monitoring definitions might be used.” Information reported by civil society groups must relate to criminal incidents committed with a bias motivation and must have taken place within the relevant timeframe.

ODIHR began displaying numbers of incidents reported by civil society per country and per bias motivation in 2014. The incidents included in these tables are those that could be disaggregated by type of incident and by bias motivation. These numbers are based on the incidents that were reported to ODIHR. Incidents can include more than one victim, but are counted as single incidents.

We regularly provide guidance and training for civil society groups on hate crime monitoring. We have noted that the quality and level of detail of information received from NGOs has improved year-on-year.

Information from intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)

IGOs generally respond to ODIHR’s call for submissions by co-ordinating reports from a number of field offices. Where possible, direct links to published IGO reports are provided on this website. We also conduct research to identify relevant published reports. Information from IGOs also needs to fall within the OSCE’s definition of hate crime and the relevant timeframe.

Specifically, ODIHR formally requests information from OSCE field operations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

We also conduct research to identify and summarise reports from the United Nations Human Rights Council; the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC); the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA); the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights; and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

In addition, ODIHR organizes annual training programmes on hate crime monitoring for field staff of the OSCE, UNHCR and IOM.

Information from the Holy See

The Holy See reports on crimes based on bias against Christians in other countries. ODIHR contacts NPCs to verify incidents and include background information in the report.

ODIHR key observations

Findings on the information available to ODIHR on hate crimes in a particular State in relation to OSCE commitments are presented as Key Observations. For 2012 and 2013, 13 key observations strictly linked to OSCE participating States’ commitments in the area of collecting and reporting data have been identified, although the Office’s mandate is broader and key observations could cover other areas as well. The observations are organized hierarchically – from fundamental to more superficial gaps in data collection and reporting.

Methodological considerations

It is important to note the following points when exploring this website:

  • A higher incidence of hate crimes recorded and reported by a particular state does not necessarily mean that more hate crimes are being committed there; the statistics may simply reflect a broader definition of hate crimes or a more effective system for recording data.

  • A higher incidence of hate crimes recorded by NGOs in relation to specific bias motivations or particular countries also does not mean that more hate crimes are being committed in relation to a particular bias motivation. This may reflect a higher capacity of organizations to monitor certain types of hate crime.