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OSCE/ODIHR provides training for Moldova's Ombudsman Office on addressing and reporting hate crimes

Chisineau, Moldova | 10 June 2014

The role of the Ombudsman in addressing hate crimes was the focus of two days of training for staff from the Center for Human Rights of Moldova organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Chisinau on 9 and 10 June 2014.

Staff from Moldova’s Ombudsman’s office participating in ODIHR workshop, Chisinau, Moldova, 9 June 2014 (OSCE/Anne Giebel)

The training introduced the Ombudsman and 25 of his staff to different issues related to the concept of hate crimes, in order to assist them in recognizing and reporting incidents of bias-motivated violence, as well as in ensuring effective support for victims.

“We know that hate crimes are largely underreported across the OSCE region,” said Larry Olomofe, ODIHR’s Training Co-ordinator and Adviser on Combating Racism. “The victims of hate crimes often also experience discrimination by state actors, which makes them lose their trust in the system. Ombudsmen can play an important role in reaching out to communities to build that trust and, thus, ultimately help address underreporting.”

ODIHR will follow up this event with two days of training for civil society in Chisinau, bringing together representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, LGBT and Roma communities, as well as people of African descent. This event will conclude with an exchange between government officials, civil society and the Ombudsman.

“I requested ODIHR’s assistance because I want to increase our understanding of hate crimes in order to build our capacity to address these issues,” said Dr. Tudor Lazar, the Ombudsman of Moldova. “This will help my office address this very important issue in our service to all the citizens of Moldova.”

These events are the third in a series geared towards Ombudsmen, as part of ODIHR’s broader programme to enhance the capacity of public institutions to prevent and respond to crimes motivated by hatred and intolerance.