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Racism and xenophobia

Racism is prejudice or hostility towards a person’s race, colour, language, nationality, or national or ethnic origin. While some communities are particularly vulnerable, any ethnic group can be the target of racism. Intolerant discourse in the media or from politicians can lead to increased racist sentiments towards migrants and other minorities, including in the form of scapegoating in times of economic crisis. Successive ODIHR annual reports on hate crime in the OSCE area have demonstrated that racist attacks can take a range of forms, targeting people from diverse groups across the region. Violent attacks by groups of perpetrators against migrants and ethnic minorities, as well as damage to businesses and property owned by or associated with established minority ethnic communities are common features of this type of crime.

The OSCE has long recognized the threat to international security posed by racism, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. Participating States condemned racial and ethnic hatred as early 1990. At the Ministerial Council meeting in Maastricht in 2003, participating States committed themselves to combat hate crimes fuelled by racist or xenophobic propaganda and to publicly denounce such crimes.

Most participating States reported that they record hate crime data according to at least one category related to racism and xenophobia, such as "race"/colour, nationality/ethnicity/national origin, citizenship or language. The differences in recording and reporting policies among participating States present a number of challenges for ODIHR when interpreting and verifying information received. Data from different participating States can be incomparable due, for example, to inconsistencies about which groups are legally protected and monitored. There is also a risk that the same data might be double counted in general statistics. For example, anti-Semitic hate crime might be reported separately or included under the broader category of racist hate crime, or both. While the number of NGOs reporting to ODIHR has increased, victims' negative experiences in police responses and a lack of capacity of NGOs to monitor and report on the phenomenon contribute to the problem of under-reporting.

ODIHR | TANDIS



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Reports

Overview of incidents reported by civil society

Attacks Against People Attacks Against Property Total
Violent Attacks Threats
341 106 237 684

Albania

The OSCE Presence in Albania reported two incidents of racist threats made over the Internet.

Austria

Official figures recorded 323 racist or xenophobic crimes.

ZARA reported ten physical assaults, including one that involved clashes between two groups, one in which the victim was stabbed, two resulting in severe injuries and two carried out by a group, one of which was also reported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)ZARA also reported three threats against people of Turkish or African descent, eight incidents of damage to property, six incidents of graffiti targeting refugee centres, and five arson attacks on refugee accommodations.

The Anti-Discrimination Office Styria reported a physical assault on two Chechen teenagers by a group, and a case of threats against people speaking a language other than German.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported eight arson attacks that involved property damage and threatening behaviour, which targeted people in refugee reception facilities.

Belgium

The Collective against Islamophobia in Belgium (CCIB) reported an incident in which a Palestinian restaurant was vandalized; the damage included swastika graffiti. Antisemitisme.be reported one incident of graffiti.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

SETA and the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina reported two physical assaults, including one carried out by a group and one in which nationalist symbols were carved onto the victim; and three incidents involving anti-Bosniak graffiti.

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina reported 95 incidents targeting individuals from the Bosniak, Serb and Croat communities. These include a physical assault on a Bosniak returnee, in which a cross was carved on the victim’s body; anti-Croatian graffiti; and one incident in which Serb motorcyclists were threatened and assaulted.

Canada

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) reported a case of vandalism targeting Muslims and Syrian refugees. B'nai Brith reported a further case of vandalism, in which a swastika was drawn on a bridge.

Croatia

Official figures recorded 15 crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia, including one case of disturbance of the peace, four cases of damage to property and ten cases of threats.

The Centre for Peace Studies, OSIJEK and Documenta reported two physical assaults, including one carried out by a group on a Ugandan man and one targeting a man of Gambian descent. The Centre for Peace Studies reported three further physical assaults, two of which were carried out by groups, one incident in which a group of schoolchildren were attacked by a group of assailants, two threats, and one incident of graffiti on a school. OSIJEK and Documenta also reported one incident of vandalism that involved graffiti.

Czech Republic

Official figures recorded 26 racist and xenophobic hate crimes, including five physical assaults, seven cases of incitement to violence, three instances of disturbance of the peace, three cases of vandalism, seven cases of threats, and one other crime.

In IUSTITIA reported nine physical assaults, eight threats, three incidents of damage to property and four incidents of vandalism involving graffiti.

Denmark

Official figures recorded 102 racist and xenophobic crimes.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an incident in which an asylum-seeker was severely assaulted by a group of masked men, an arson attack on a bus used by the inhabitants of an asylum centre, and three incidents in which threatening messages were painted on asylum centres.

Estonia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a physical assault on a Sudanese refugee; an arson attack against a refugee reception centre; and another attack on a reception centre, in which windows were shattered.

Finland

Official figures recorded 1,356 racist and xenophobic hate crimes.

France

Official figures recorded 739 racist hate crimes, including 69 physical assaults, three arson attacks, 31 incidents of damage to property and 249 cases of threats.

LICRA reported 14 physical assaults, including one perpetrated by a group and one that involved the use a knife; two threats; two incidents of damage to property; one theft and three cases of vandalism. The European Centre for Democracy Development reported one physical assault. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported one threat.

The Observatory of Christianophobia (OC) and the Holy See reported one incident of vandalism on a memorial to the victims of atrocities in Armenia.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 20 physical assaults, including ten perpetrated with metallic bars and nine with tear gas. Victims were identified as migrants or refugees.

Germany

Official figures record 2,447 hate crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia. 

The coalition of civil society groups Hate Crime Counselling Project reported 1,004 racist and xenophobic incidents, which included physical assaults, harassment, threats and damage to property.

The European Centre for Democracy Development reported an incident in which a football team consisting of asylum seekers was attacked by another group, and an attack carried out by a group with weapons that targeted a group of North Africans. The Centre also reported threats against two Egyptian asylum seekers, one incident of damage to accommodations for asylum-seekers, one arson attack against planned accommodations for a family of Iraqi refugees and one incident of vandalism targeting an asylum seekers' home.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Human Rights First reported a knife attack on an activist working with refugees and an arson attack on a refugee shelter. Insaan reported threats to a young woman who was perceived to be foreign.

Amnesty International reported five assaults on people perceived to be foreigners or refugees, including two in which groups attacked refugee shelters; and an incident of damage to a refugee shelter in which windows were smashed and stink bombs thrown inside.

Greece

The Greek Helsinki Monitor reported a physical assault on a man of South Asian origin. The Racist Violence Recording network (RVRN) reported 27 physical assaults, of which three resulted in serious injuries; 45 incidents of threats; and three cases of damage to property. Victims were mostly of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, North African or Middle Eastern background.

The European Centre for Democracy Development reported 11 physical assaults, including two that caused serious injuries, one which also involved the use of a weapon, and including five assaults carried out by groups, two of which resulted in an injury and two that involved the use of a weapon. The Centre also reported one threat, one burglary and one incident of vandalism.

Hungary

The Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organization, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a physical assault carried out by a group against a student of Cuban origin and his girlfriend, who suffered serious injuries. The UNHCR and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee reported an additional physical assault targeting Nigerians, and three threats targeting Nigerians and refugees. The UNHCR reported an additional physical assault. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee reported an additional incident of threats targeting refugees. The European Centre for Democracy Development reported three incidents of vandalism involving graffiti.

Italy

Official figures recorded 369 racist and xenophobic crimes.

Lunaria reported the murder of a Malian man and four attempted murders of migrants, refugees or asylum-seekers. Lunaria also reported 21 physical assaults, which included 11 that caused serious injuries, five that were carried out by groups, including one which caused serious injury to a Pakistani man, one which involved robbery and one sexual assault. Victims included people from Afghanistan, Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

The European Centre for Democracy and Development and Lunaria reported a further physical assault in which a group armed with a knife attacked a Romanian man.

Lunaria also reported six arson attacks, three of which targeted premises allocated to refugees and one which targeted a Nigerian grocery store; three incidents of damage to refugee accommodations; three incidents of threats, including against refugees and a person from Bangladesh; one theft; and 17 incidents of vandalism.

Kyrgyzstan

The Shah Ayim Network reported an incident in which an Uzbek female sex worker was blackmailed and threatened.

Lithuania

Official figures recorded 16 racist hate crimes.

The European Foundations of Human Rights reported two physical assaults targeting people from Azerbaijan and Armenia; and four incidents of graffiti targeting Poles and Russians.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The Macedonian Helsinki Committee and the OSCE Mission to Skopje reported a total of 12 physical assaults, ten of which were carried out by groups, including three in which weapons were used; three assaults that caused serious injuries; and one assault that involved damage to property. The Macedonian Helsinki Committee and the OSCE Mission to Skopje also reported three incidents of violent attacks between large clashing groups, 15 robberies, one theft, and one incident of kidnapping and extortion.

Monaco

In its third report on Monaco, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the criminal law be amended to add racist motivation as an aggravating circumstance. ECRI also recommended that statistics on the number of reported hate crimes, prosecutions and sentences be published.

Netherlands

Official figures recorded 2,215 racist and xenophobic incidents. Figures include cases of hate speech and discrimination.

The Israel Information and Documentation Centre reported two incidents of vandalism.

Norway

SETA reported two physical assaults, one of which involved the stabbing of a Muslim man of African descent, while the second was carried out by a group that targeted two Kurdish men

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a physical assault, in which two Kurdish men were attacked by a group; and two arson attacks on reception centres for asylum-seekers.

Poland

The Ministry of the Interior recorded 133 hate crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia.

The Open Dialog Foundation reported an incident of vandalism targeting Ukrainians. ILGA-Europe and Lambda Warsaw reported a physical attack on a foreigner. ILGA-Europe and the Antidiscrimination Education Society (TEA) reported a physical assault on a 12-year old boy.

The Never Again Association reported the attempted murder of a man of African descent and 11 physical assaults, including six carried out by groups and one involving a weapon. The victims included Algerians, German-speaking tourists, Cameroonian, Slovak and Turkish students, Syrians, Nigerians, Chileans and one Palestinian. The Never Again Association also reported one incident of anti-Russian vandalism and one incident of the desecration of German graves.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported nine physical assaults, of which six were carried out by groups and one caused serious injuries.

Russian Federation

The SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis and the European Centre for Democracy Development reported the murders of two Kyrgyz men. The European Centre for Democracy Development reported two additional murders, targeting men from Tajikistan and Ukraine, and one case of vandalism. SOVA reported 20 additional physical assaults, four of which resulted in the death of the victims; and six assaults perpetrated by groups, two of which involved knives. The Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy (MPC) reported eight physical assaults, including one resulting in the death of the victim and six assaults committed by groups.

The Civic Assistance Committee Russia reported four physical assaults, including three committed by groups and one that also involved mixed biases involving racism and targeting the sexual orientation of a Cameroonian man. The Civic Assistance Committee and the UNHCR reported one physical assault against an Egyptian man. SOVA, the MPC, the Civic Assistance Committee Russia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported one physical assault on a Congolese man. SOVA and the MPC reported one additional physical assault on a Senegalese man. SOVA and the Civic Assistance Committee Russia reported one physical assault against a Sudanese man.

Reported incidents are included in the above section.

Serbia

Praxis reported a physical assault, in which an Iraqi migrant was beaten and stabbed by a group. The Regional Centre for Minorities (RCM) reported a physical assault on an Albanian-speaking Ashkali teenager; and seven incidents of graffiti on buildings and monuments.

Slovenia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an arson attack against a building where collection of aid for the refugees had been organized; and a further case of vandalism, in which a swastika was painted on the same building.

Spain

Official figures recorded 505 racist and xenophobic crimes.

The Cabinet of Social Studies (GES) reported three physical assaults, including one which caused serious injuries, and two incidents of vandalism. The Union of Islamic Communities of Spain reported two physical assaults.

Sweden

Official figures recorded 3,119 racist and xenophobic crimes, of which 548 were physical assaults, 691 cases of vandalism or damage to property and 1,880 threats.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights First and SETA reported the murder of two students with a sword with anti-Muslim and racist motivations, and three arson attacks on housing for asylum seekers. The Kantor Center reported 43 arson attacks on centres for asylum seekers. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a racist murder committed at a school, in which two other victims were injured; a physical assault on an unaccompanied refugee minor; an incident of threats targeting inhabitants of an asylum centre; and two arson attacks on facilities accommodating refugees.

Switzerland

The Consultation Network for the Victims of Racism reported two physical assaults and one threat. The Intercommunity Coordination against Anti-Semitism and Defamation (CICAD) and the Consultation Network for the Victims of Racism reported one incident of vandalism involving swastika graffiti. CICAD reported four additional incidents of vandalism involving swastika graffiti. 

Turkey

The London Legal Group reported the murder of a Kurdish man, and one attack by a group on Syrian refugees in which knives were used and resulted in serious injuries.

Ukraine

Official figures recorded 31 racist hate crimes.

The Diversity Initiative, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 11 physical assaults and one incident of vandalism.

The Congress of National Communities of Ukraine (CNCU) and the European Centre for Democracy Development reported two physical assaults, including one committed by a group. The victims were Nigerian and Tajik men. The CNCU, the UNHCR and Right 2 Protection (R2P) reported two physical assaults, which targeted a Somali and a Guinean man, respectively. The UNHCR and R2P reported one physical assault and three incidents of threats.

The CNCU additionally reported four physical assaults including two committed by a group and one with the use of a knife; and one attempted arson attack. The European Centre for Democracy Development reported one attack on foreigners in a club, carried out by a large group armed with baseball bats and knives, and one physical assault.

The UNHCR reported one incident in which a Syrian man was threatened by an armed group in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine. The CNCU also reported three incidents of vandalism targeting Tatar memorials or stores, and one incident of the desecration of a religious Tatar memorial in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine.

United Kingdom

Official figures recorded 49,419 racist hate crimes in England and Wales.

MEND reported 32 physical assaults, three of which were carried out by groups and which caused serious injuries, also including three assaults involving the use of weapons. Two of the assaults involved robbery and three also involved damage to property. These 32 physical assaults targeted four women and 11 assaults targeted taxi drivers. The victims were Asian, Indian, Egyptian, Algerian, Sudanese, Somali, Iranian, Turkish and Iraqi-Kurd.

MEND also reported one attempted physical assault, one attempted robbery, ten incidents of threats, one arson attack, seven incidents of damage to property and two incidents of graffiti.

Tell MAMA reported two physical assaults, both of which were carried out by groups, one targeting a Sudanese man and the other targeting an Asian man, who was seriously injured. MEND and Tell MAMA also reported one threat.

United States of America

Official figures recorded 4,029 racist and xenophobic offences.

The Bridge Initiative reported the murder of an Iranian-American man and eight physical assaults, including two that caused serious injuries and one that involved the use of a weapon. The victims of these assaults included Sikhs, people speaking languages other than English in public, and people of Asian and Middle Eastern background. The Bridge Initiative also reported three incidents of vandalism and two incidents of graffiti targeting foreigners.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported two incidents of graffiti.

OSCE Region

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK) reported that the Kosovo Police recorded 15 crimes motivated by ethnicity-based bias. OMiK additionally reported eight physical assaults, including two in which the victim was stabbed and one shooting incident; one violent attack by a group on another group; two bombings targeting Kosovo Serbs; seven threats; two arson attacks; eight incidents of damage to property; and two incidents of vandalism.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported one murder; 14 physical assaults; seven threats; three robberies; eight burglaries; 16 thefts; seven incidents of arson; 11 cases of damage to property; ten cases of vandalism, including five in which graffiti was used; two incidents of the illegal occupation of property; and three incidents of the desecration of graves. 


Developments

Albania

The OSCE Presence in Albania trained 120 police officers on addressing hate crimes and worked with the Albanian State Police to include a hate crime curriculum in the basic police school training courses. The OSCE Presence also supported the appointment of a State Police Focal Point on Hate Crimes.

Armenia

In its fourth report on Armenia, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that alleged racist, homophobic and transphobic motivations be considered in the investigation of violent incidents from their very beginning.

Austria

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Austrian authorities supported recommendations to review national hate crime legislation, to establish a system to collect comprehensive data on reported hate crimes, prosecutions and sentences, and to effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes, including those motivated by intolerance against Muslims.

Azerbaijan

In its fourth report on Azerbaijan, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that colour, language, citizenship and ethnic origin be included as protected characteristics in the criminal law provisions dealing with hate crimes. It also stated that LGBT people should be better protected in law and in practice. ECRI also highlighted the need for the police and prosecution services to thoroughly investigate all cases of hate crime and conduct outreach to groups likely to be targeted.

In its "Concluding observations on the combined seventh to ninth periodic reports of Azerbaijan", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern about the misuse of criminal code provisions on incitement to hatred and on instances of official condoning of hate crimes.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In its "Concluding observations on the ninth to eleventh periodic reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) highlighted the importance of fully implementing the existing criminal provisions on hate crimes and expressed concern at the continuation of hate crimes against minority returnees.

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina reported that it continued its activities with law enforcement, the judiciary and civil society organizations, organizing four training events for a total of 80 prosecutors and judges, and two training events for a total of 46 law enforcement officers. Nineteen local Coalitions against Hate, established with the assistance of the Mission, implemented approximately 100 activities in the fields of prevention and education, including painting over offensive graffiti. The Mission continued its co-operation with the Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC) in implementing the two-year project Fighting Hate Crime in BiH. This project included six training events for a total of 155 police officers on hate crimes and another for 24 judicial and prosecutorial trainees. The Mission also continued to support its online Super Citizens reporting tool and to publish reports in its Hate Monitor, a monthly infographic of the Mission’s hate crimes monitoring information. This tool presents the latest data on all known bias-motivated incidents and responses to these incidents by judicial agencies, local authorities and civil society throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bulgaria

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Bulgarian authorities made the commitment to examine and respond to recommendations to enhance efforts to ensure that hate crimes are effectively investigated and prosecuted, including those perpetrated against LGBT people, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. Other such recommendations included encouraging the reporting and proper recording of hate crimes, strengthening data-collection systems and providing training on hate crimes to law enforcement and judicial authorities.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in the annual activity report following his country visit to Bulgaria, expressed concern at hate crimes targeting migrants and recommended that the authorities encourage reporting by victims and cease treating hate crimes as "hooliganism".

Croatia

In its "Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Croatia", the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) called for strengthened efforts to combat racist attacks committed by law enforcement personnel, including against Roma people, by providing training and ensuring that hate crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted. The HRC highlighted the need to counter hate crimes against LGBT people, by ensuring that they are thoroughly investigated and offenders are prosecuted and sanctioned.

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Croatian authorities made the commitment to examine and respond to recommendations to ensure the efficient, non-discriminatory and timely investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

Cyprus

In its fifth report on Cyprus, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the police be clearly instructed to investigate and record the bias motivation of hate crimes. ECRI also underlined the need to collect data on the application of aggravating circumstance provisions, which should be a factor in the development of an electronic filing system for the courts.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in the annual activity report following his country visit to Cyprus, stressed the need to counter hate crime targeting migrants.

The Advisory Committee of Council of Europe on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, in its Fourth Opinion on Cyprus, urged the authorities to improve the recording and investigation of hate crimes, as well as the sentencing of those found guilty, and to raise awareness in victim communities of available remedies.

Czech Republic

In its "Concluding observations on the combined tenth and eleventh periodic reports of the Czech Republic", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) emphasized the importance of effectively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. CERD also expressed its concern about continued racially motivated violence against Roma people and on the increase in racially-motivated violence against Muslim communities.

Denmark

In its "Concluding observations on the combined twentieth and twenty-first periodic reports of Denmark", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that a national action plan on racism be developed, with a particular focus on combating hate crimes.

France

In its fifth report on France, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended amendments to the Criminal Code to include racist, homophobic and transphobic motivations as aggravating circumstances in criminal offences. ECRI also recommended that the authorities establish partnerships with civil society organizations working with Roma communities and people with disabilities to overcome under-reporting and to ensure that hate crime data-collection systems allow the disaggregation of data and the tracking of cases through the criminal justice system.

Georgia

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Georgian authorities supported recommendations to address hate crimes motivated by bias related to sexual orientation or gender identity and to develop training programmes on hate crimes for police and judges, which the authorities consider already implemented or in the process of implementation. The Georgian authorities made the commitment to examine and respond to recommendations to establish a specialized police unit for investigating hate crimes and to increase the powers of the public defender's office.

In its fourth report on Georgia, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended the creation of a unified hate crime database, the creation of a police unit specialized in hate crime, and that training programmes for law enforcement officials and the judiciary be augmented and include information on hate crime against LGBT people. ECRI also called for the effective investigation and prosecution of all hate crime cases, notably hate crimes against Muslims.

In its "Concluding observations on the sixth to eighth periodic reports of Georgia", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that all hate crimes be thoroughly investigated, prosecuted and punished appropriately, with victims receiving appropriate compensation.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in his "Update on the human rights situation," recommended adequately identifying, qualifying, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, including those on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity; and acknowledged the recommendations on hate crimes issued by Georgia’s chief prosecutor.

Germany

In its "Concluding observations on the combined nineteenth to twenty-second periodic reports of Germany", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that an explicit duty to investigate and document any racist motive of criminal offences be imposed on the police, that police be trained on reporting and investigating hate crimes, and that Germany's hate crime data-collection system be improved. CERD also expressed concerns about the increase in attacks against asylum-seekers and called for them to be protected from racially motivated violence.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in the annual activity report following his country visit to Germany, welcomed amendments to the criminal code that made racist motivation an aggravating circumstance. The Commissioner also called on the authorities to improve the recording of hate crimes, in particular by increasing the disaggregation of data, to introduce guidance for police and prosecutors, and to train all criminal justice actors on hate crimes.

Greece

In its "Concluding observations on the twentieth to twenty-second periodic reports of Greece", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended strengthening the use of anti-racism provisions, including through training for law enforcement and judicial officials. CERD further recommended strengthening the reporting and registration of hate crimes.

In his report following a mission to Greece, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance praised the establishment of a public prosecutor for racist crimes and of special police units. The Rapporteur also recommended that the mandates of police and prosecutors be expanded to include homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. The rapporteur further recommended the inclusion of language and citizenship among protected characteristics in Greek hate crime law and that prosecutors and judges be trained on the use of hate crime laws.

Italy

In its fifth report on Italy, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to include colour and language as protected characteristics. ECRI also emphasized the need to improve Italy’s hate crime data-collection system, in order to produce more detailed statistics.

The Advisory Committee of Council of Europe on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, in its Fourth Opinion on Italy, praised the work accomplished by the Observatory for Security against Acts of Discrimination OSCAD, the Ministry of Interior’s anti-discrimination body, and the training for law enforcement personnel that were developed in co-operation with ODIHR.

Lithuania

In its fifth report on Lithuania, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to include colour, citizenship and gender identity as protected characteristics. ECRI also observed the need for further training for police officers, prosecutors and judges on how to approach hate crimes.

In its "Concluding observations on the combined sixth to eighth periodic reports of Lithuania", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that the collection of data on reported hate crimes, prosecutions and sentences be improved, and that the state take measures to reach out to groups at risk of being targeted. The Committee also stressed the importance of ensuring the effective investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

In its fifth report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. ECRI also suggested that hate crime training for law enforcement personnel and the judiciary be expanded, and under-reporting of hate crimes be addressed through confidence-building measures.

The OSCE Mission to Skopje and the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors trained a total of 80 judges and prosecutors in four training events on identification, processing and adjudicating hate crimes. The Mission commissioned an expert analysis on "Mapping of obstacles to processing hate crimes", which presented a comprehensive perspective on the barriers to the effective identification, investigation, prosecution and adjudication of hate crimes.

Moldova

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supported a number of training initiatives related to refugees and hate crimes, organized in co-operation with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the Bureau for Migration and Asylum (BMA), judicial officials and civil society.

The OSCE Mission to Moldova participated in the work of an inter-institutional working group established by the Ministry of Justice to revise and improve the existing legal framework for combating hate crimes. The Mission also facilitated the Ministry of Justice's request to ODIHR to review the draft law prepared by this working group.

Mongolia

In its "Concluding observations on the combined nineteenth to twenty-second periodic reports of Mongolia", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed its concern at reported instances of hate crimes against foreigners. CERD recommended that all cases of racially motivated violence be promptly and effectively investigated, and the perpetrators prosecuted.

Netherlands

In its "Concluding observations on the combined nineteenth to twenty-first periodic reports of the Netherlands", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended introducing racist motivation as an aggravating circumstance in criminal legislation. CERD also suggested that national authorities consider simplifying the legal requirements to punish hate crimes.

Following its mission to the Netherlands, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent encouraged the adoption of legislation that imposes higher penalties for hate crimes and expressed concern that hate crimes are under-reported and under-prosecuted. It also recommended that the scope of data collected on hate crimes should be expanded, including by offering more victim surveys.

Norway

In its "Concluding observations on the combined twenty-first and twenty-second periodic reports of Norway", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that a clear definition of hate crime be adopted in the Criminal Code, that a national system for registering hate crimes be established, that data on hate crimes be provided, that law enforcement be trained, and that all hate crimes be effectively investigated and prosecuted.

Serbia

Following a country visit to Serbia, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe expressed concern about the occurrence of hate crimes and called for courts to follow a stronger sentencing policy related to hate crimes, including by making better use of the aggravating circumstances provisions of the Criminal Code.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has, in co-operation with the Commissioner for Equality and the Ombudsman, conducted eight training sessions for representatives of local municipalities on the subject of the rights of internally displaced people, which also addressed hate crimes.

Slovakia

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in the annual activity report following his country visit to Slovakia, recommended including gender identity as a protected characteristic in the criminal code. The Commissioner also expressed concern at the manifestations of intolerance against Roma and Sinti people, and called on the authorities to improve the registration of hate crimes, including through the training of police.

Slovenia

In its "Concluding observations on the combined eighth to eleventh periodic reports of Slovenia", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that the Criminal Code be amended to recognize racist motives as an aggravating circumstance for criminal offences. CERD also underscored the importance of effectively investigating and prosecuting hate crime perpetrators and providing training to police, prosecutors and judges on hate crimes.

Spain

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Spanish authorities made the commitment to examine and respond to recommendations to continue efforts to counter, effectively investigate and punish hate crimes.

In its "Concluding observations on the twenty-first to twenty-third periodic reports periodic reports of Georgia", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) commended the country for its progress in the collection of hate crime data and the appointment of specialized prosecutors.

Sweden

Following its mission to Sweden, the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent recommended that more resources be allocated to police and prosecution authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes against people of African descent. It also recommended the collection and publishing of data on hate crimes against Afro-Swedes as a distinct category, and not as a subcategory of racist hate crimes.

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Swedish authorities expressed support for recommendations to strengthen efforts to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish all hate crimes, and to expand training programmes on hate crimes provided for police, prosecutors and judges.

Turkey

In its "Concluding observations on the combined fourth to sixth periodic reports of Turkey", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that racist motivation should be included as an aggravating circumstance in penal legislation. CERD expressed its concern at reports of hate crimes, including against Roma people, and recommended that all hate crime cases be effectively investigated and prosecuted, that law enforcement officials be trained, and that disaggregated statistics on hate crimes be collected and published.

In its fifth report on Turkey, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that Turkey introduce racist, homophobic and transphobic motivations as an aggravating factor in its criminal code, and that the police strengthen co-operation with civil society to encourage the reporting of hate crimes. ECRI further recommended to create a system for police to record hate crimes, including adopting guidelines on hate crime recording and investigation by the police.

Ukraine

In its "Concluding observations on the twenty-second and twenty-third periodic reports of Ukraine", the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that all hate crimes be duly registered, investigated and prosecuted under article 161 of the criminal code, that disaggregated statistics on hate crimes be compiled, and the continuation of training police on hate crime.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that they have continued to co-operate with civil society within the framework of the Diversity Initiative monitoring network. At the initiative of the UNHCR and the IOM, a working group is being established under the auspices of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine to improve the investigation and documentation of hate crimes. The UNHCR has strengthened training for protection monitors on identifying hate crimes and xenophobia, with an emphasis on minorities such as Roma, Crimean Tatars, and sexual and religious minorities. Also, in December 2015, the UNHCR conducted training for new patrol police in Kyiv, covering the issues of cultural diversity and hate crimes, and, jointly with the IOM and ODIHR, organized an expert roundtable on combating hate crimes in Ukraine.

United Kingdom

In its "Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) recommended that the existing legislation and policy to counter hate crimes be effectively implemented, reporting improved, and that cases should be thoroughly investigated, with perpetrators prosecuted and appropriately sentenced.

In its fifth report on the United Kingdom, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that data be gathered where enhanced sentencing was applied; and to monitor cases where bias aggravation was invoked and then withdrawn during the plea bargain.

United States of America

Following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the United States authorities made the commitment to examine and respond to recommendations to continue to work towards ensuring that all hate crimes are effectively investigated and prosecuted, and to engage better with communities at risk of being victims of hate crimes.

OSCE Region

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo (OMiK) continued to work with the Kosovo Police to improve the recording and investigation of hate crimes through a series of eight one-day training events, one in each police region, making use of training materials that are to be integrated into the Kosovo Police training curriculum. OMiK also conducted a series of educational visits to local schools with the Kosovo Police, informing students about the issue and the impact of hate crimes. In co-operation with ODIHR, OMiK organized a workshop for government officials responsible for the recording of hate crimes in Kosovo, aimed at improving current policies.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a number of resolutions on hate crime issues, including Resolution 2069 on recognizing and preventing neo-racism, which recommends that hate crime legislation include the protected characteristics of race, colour, ethnicity, language, religion, disability, migrant status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. PACE also recognized the issue of under-reporting by calling for more systematic reporting of hate crimes.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), in its "Fundamental Rights Report 2016", called on all EU Member States to ensure that hate crimes are effectively investigated and prosecuted, and that victims are given adequate support. FRA also underlined the need to collect detailed hate crime data, in order to develop effective legal and policy responses.

FRA, in its report "Ensuring justice for hate crime victims: professional perspectives", recommended that appropriate victim support services be available to all victims of hate crime, to avoid secondary victimization. Outreach activities to encourage reporting, training for police, prosecutors and judges, and the role of civil society were all identified as necessary components. 

The eighth session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, focusing on minorities and the criminal justice system, produced a number of detailed recommendations that states can follow to counter hate crimes. These included recommendations relating to issues such as data collection, victimization surveys, training for law enforcement actors and reporting, recording and investigating hate crimes.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in a report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 69/160, called on states to introduce aggravating-circumstance provisions in their criminal legislation and to ensure that all hate crimes are effectively investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned. He also recommended that victims be provided with adequate support and access to effective remedies, the introduction of disaggregated hate crime statistics collected in co-operation with civil society, and that law enforcement personnel and the judiciary receive hate crime training.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in its report "Combating violence against migrants: criminal justice measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families and to protect victims", identified ten key measures relating to, among other things, ensuring data is collected on violence against migrants, strengthening criminal legislation, effectively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against migrants, providing victim support, and imposing appropriate sentences for perpetrators.

The United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted the "Doha Declaration on integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation", which calls on states to conduct research and gather data on hate crime victimization, to exchange experiences on effective law and policy responses, to bring perpetrators to justice, to support victims and to train criminal justice professionals on hate crime.

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, in his annual activity report, stressed the need to adopt legal provisions to address gender-based hate crimes.