31 July 2018
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Bias against Christians
Christians are the targets of hate crime across the OSCE region. These incidents are influenced by a number of factors, including the minority or majority status in a given territory, the level of recognition of particular religious groups in a given country, or political and media focus on these groups at a particular moment. ODIHR's hate crime reporting includes reports of physical assaults and murders that indicate that Jehovah's Witnesses are particularly at risk. Reports have also indicated that graffiti and vandalism against places of worship, the desecration of cemeteries and arson attacks against churches are some of the more common types of crimes motivated by bias against Christians.
Beginning in 2004, a number of OSCE Ministerial Council decisions and declarations have included specific commitments on and references to the importance of combating prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions.
The Holy See also collects information on hate incidents based on bias against Christians through its network of regional representatives. This information is submitted by ODIHR to the authorities in the relevant participating States for verification, for information on the status of investigations and of hate motivations.
In its fifth report on Denmark, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the police take hate motivations into consideration in cases of vandalism targeting religious sites.
The Human Rights Council, in Resolution 31/16, expressed concern over violent attacks motivated by anti-religious bias, targeting individuals belonging to religious minorities, as well as religious places, and recommended that states prevent, investigate and punish such acts.