42 OSCE participating States have submitted hate crime information to ODIHR for 2020. Of these, 37 provided statistics, while 23 provided statistics disaggregated by bias motivation.
The official figures are complemented by reports on hate incidents from 137 civil society groups, covering 46 participating States. These contributions amount to 7,203 hate incidents, including 3,173 disaggregated statistical incidents and 4,030 descriptive incidents. This information includes incidents provided by the Holy See, UNHCR and OSCE missions.
General challenges to reporting hate crimes
Official hate crime data reported to ODIHR for 2020 vary widely from state to state. It is important to note that a lack of official hate crime data does not signal an absence of hate crime, but indicates that the lack of comprehensive approach to hate crimes leaves them invisible and unaddressed.
While many countries across the OSCE are making greater efforts to address hate crime, more action needs to be taken to increase knowledge of the true number of hate crimes committed and more done to support victims. When states do not proactively monitor, record and encourage targeted groups to report hate crimes, the needs of hate crime victims go unmet and their access to justice is hindered.
No society is immune to hate crime. States that do not report hate crime data are falling short of their OSCE commitments to address such crimes. Though there are more States collecting data on hate crime, many of those figures are based on inadequate or insufficient recording mechanisms that do not identify the bias motivation behind hate crimes, and also fail to distinguish hate crime from other types of crime.
As well as improving the mechanisms they use to record hate crimes and collect data, countries also need to do more to raise awareness about the special nature of hate crimes. This includes increasing the capacities of criminal justice officials to recognize, record, investigate and prosecute hate crimes effectively.
Hate crimes are particularly abhorrent crimes, sending a message to entire communities that they are neither wanted nor welcome, and that threats and violence will never be far away. It is therefore also essential that OSCE countries recognize the overwhelming harm that hate crime causes and take action to ensure that legislation stresses the bias motivation and adequate penalties are imposed on perpetrators.
To ensure that victims are protected, enjoy full access to justice and receive tailored specialist support, countries also need to strengthen their victim support systems and work closely with civil society organizations, which often offer the most specialized and direct support to those who have become the target of hate crime.
ODIHR offers participating States a range of resources and tools to help them meet hate crime victims’ needs, improve hate crime monitoring and recording practices and strengthen co-operation with civil society.