ADL And Human Rights First: OSCE Governments Fail To Adequately Address Bias Crimes

New York, NY, November 17, 2011 … While anti-Semitic and other bias crimes are on the rise, a majority of the 56 participating governments in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) still fail to adequately address the problem, according to a report issued today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Human Rights First. The report analyzes and rates how governments are responding to anti-Semitism and hate crime based on data in the just released annual hate crime report of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

"Seven years ago in Berlin, the OSCE countries pledged with great urgency to gather data on anti-Semitic crimes," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Yet only four of those governments have provided information on incidents for the OSCE's report. Without this basic monitoring, how can any government demonstrate that they are serious about addressing it?"

Only 20 of 56 participating states gather data on anti-Semitic incidents. In 26 of the countries where no data was submitted, a number of anti-Semitic incidents were reported by media, Jewish communities and other non-governmental sources. The limited reporting that does exist shows that Jews and other minorities continue to be targeted for bias crimes.

"We renew our call to all OSCE governments to take action to move their countries forward in the fight against hate crime," said Mr. Foxman. "This is not just for the sake of the victims – all communities, all societies have a stake in improving the response to hate crimes."

The ADL/Human Rights First report puts forward an action agenda for governments to address hate crimes and urges them to utilize the training tools and resources in the OSCE's hate crime toolkit. Action items include:

  • acknowledge and condemn hate crimes whenever they occur;
  • monitor and address hate crime;
  • enact laws to address and therefore recognize the particular harm they cause;
  • provide training and policy guidance to law enforcement;
  • forge links with community groups to build trust and promote dialogue.

The OSCE is the leading intergovernmental organization tracking and addressing hate crime response; its 56 participating governments have committed themselves in a series of ministerial decisions to monitor and address hate crime. ADL has taken a leadership role in presenting resources and recommendations to the OSCE on confronting anti-Semitism, anti-bias education, hate crime data collection, combating youth violence, hate on the Internet and Holocaust education.

The League collaborated with ODIHR in preparing key components of their tool-kit to help states address hate crime: A resource guide for community organizations on Preventing and Responding to Hate Crime, and ODIHR's Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide, which provides practical advice for lawmakers, community organizations and law enforcement for responding to bias crimes.

The new OSCE report, Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses, is available on the organization's Web site.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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