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ODIHR's impact in 2019: Building a civil society coalition against hate crime

3 April 2020

The first in a series of impact stories highlights the value of coalition building in strengthening civil society efforts to monitor and report hate crimes.

(OSCE/Maria Kokce)

Across the OSCE, CSOs play a crucial role in monitoring and reporting hate crimes. This is especially important in states that have not introduced a nationwide system for recording hate crimes.

However, effective hate crime monitoring requires co-operation. By coming together, synchronizing their efforts, and pooling their resources, CSOs can amplify their impact and outreach to achieve lasting results. To this end, since 2019 ODIHR has assisted Bulgarian CSOs in building a coalition of various organizations working to address different forms of intolerance and discrimination, from xenophobia to anti-Semitism.

Activities included workshops on ODIHR’s hate crime methodology and civil society reporting platform, the exchange of international good practices, and meetings to map the role of each coalition member. These efforts culminated in the creation of the Bulgarian Hate Crime Recording Coalition, trained to properly record and report hate crimes and equipped with a hate crime recording form to systematize their approach. The training made extensive use of ODIHR’s tool Coalition Building for Tolerance and Non-Discrimination: A Practical Guide and the new Workshop Model for trainers, based on it.

The coalition is comprised of organizations representing diverse groups, including Bulgaria’s Jewish, Roma and LGBTI communities. These CSOs not only provide vital resources and assistance to hate crime victims, but also bridge the gap between the authorities and society’s marginalized groups.

The coalition will submit the data it gathers for publication in ODIHR’s hate crime database, which is updated annually and can be found by clicking on the What do we know tab above. In 2020, the coalition will draft a report for use as an advocacy tool to raise awareness about the phenomenon of hate crime in Bulgaria.

Successful coalition building relies on CSOs’ ownership of the process and the buy-in of state institutions. Therefore, ODIHR continues to assist participating States in strengthening their dialogue and engagement with civil society, while simultaneously building CSOs’ capacity to monitor and report hate crimes.

“Within only a few weeks, we gathered more information on hate crime cases and incidents than was ever recorded by official statistics. Together, we will use this data to advocate for evidence-based and meaningful hate crimes policies, as well as customized prevention measures and services for victims.”

Stana Iliev, a representative of the Bulgarian Hate Crime Recording Coalition