46 OSCE participating States have submitted hate crime information to ODIHR for 2022. Of these, 40 provided statistics, while 29 provided statistics disaggregated by bias motivation.
The official figures are complemented by reports on hate incidents from 113 civil society groups, covering 46 participating States. These contributions amount to 8,106 hate incidents, including 3,628 statistical incidents and 4,478 incidents for which detailed descriptions were provided. This information includes incidents provided by the Holy See, UNHCR and OSCE missions.
General challenges to reporting hate crimes
This year, ODIHR observes an increase in the number of states that submit data for the Hate Crime Report, resulting in an 80 per cent submission rate for 2022. There is also an increase in the quality of reported data, with more states submitting official statistics and disaggregating hate crime data by bias motivation. At the same time, a significant number of states do not distinguish hate crimes from other types of crimes in their recording, such as criminalized hate speech, as well as acts of discrimination, resulting in insufficient or a lack of information about the most egregious manifestation of bias.
Further, states’ submissions indicate gaps in the recording of prosecuted and sentenced hate crimes. This indicates that states do not have in place the mechanisms and structures to comprehensively record and collect data on hate crimes. To effectively record cases of hate crimes at all stages of the criminal justice process, from complaint through to sentencing, states are encouraged to establish a strong co-ordination mechanism. This will help to determine the flow of recorded data on hate crimes, the roles of various entities, and the processes for the centralized compilation of hate crime data and production of statistics.
Comprehensive hate crime data enable states to identify the most vulnerable and targeted victim communities, while putting in place appropriate policies to effectively address hate crimes and support victims. In particular, hate crime data should be analysed to identify how to improve policing, prosecution and victim support.
ODIHR also observes that many countries would benefit from reviewing their existing legal framework to ensure that bias motivations can be effectively acknowledged and appropriate penalties can be imposed on the perpetrators. ODIHR also underscores the need to train prosecutors and the judiciary to prosecute and sentence hate crimes as a priority step in tackling hate crime. These measures would also allow states to gather more comprehensive and accurate data on hate crimes.
As in previous years, ODIHR observes that while civil society acts as an important bridge between communities and the authorities, their capacity to monitor and report hate crime is decreasing due to insufficient funding, repressive legislation, a diminishing political space to engage, and the inability to view them as essential partners in the work of promoting human rights and democratic values. To be able to continue their vital work, civil society organizations require recognition, protection, additional support and funding from the states. They should also be included in designing policies, strategies and programmes as part of a comprehensive approach to address hate crime.
ODIHR offers participating States a range of resources and tools to help them improve hate crime monitoring, collecting and recording practices, address hate crime victims’ needs, and strengthen co-operation with civil society.