New York, NY, October 3, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the 56 states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to condemn anti-Semitism and bigotry that have been given growing legitimacy in cities across Europe.
At the OSCE’s annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Poland, the League presented recommendations for how governments could take meaningful and robust action to combat anti-Semitism, hate crime and discrimination.
The ADL statement noted, “In many OSCE countries, there are laws prohibiting hate violence or discrimination, but a law is not enough if the political and civic leaders do not lay down a marker affirming that anti-Semitism and bigotry have no place in a country that respects Jewish rights, minority rights and human rights.”
The statement also noted the dramatic improvement in monitoring of anti-Semitism by the United States as an example of how parliamentarians and government leaders can make a difference. “The improved spotlighting of anti-Semitism is a direct result of the bipartisan efforts in Congress to call for such reporting and the political will demonstrated across the Bush and Obama administrations to elevate the issue by appointing a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.”
In 2003, when the OSCE convened its first dedicated meeting to respond to the re-emergence of anti-Semitism, the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report documented anti-Semitism in 30 countries. In its 2011 report, the State Department documented anti-Semitism in 71 countries and virtually doubled the number of OSCE Participating States where the U.S. is exposing anti-Semitism.
“The growth of reporting by the U.S. State Department is about more than finding anti-Semitism in more places,” the ADL statement said. “It reflects a broad systemic understanding of the nature of anti-Semitism as a human rights violation – and better recognition of effective ways to identify and respond to anti-Semitism.
ADL urged the representatives of 56 governments assembled in Warsaw to take a series of actions:
- Political and civic leaders should condemn the rise of anti-Semitism and hate violence.
- Collect data on incidents and enact laws that provide a policy response to hate crime.
- Support the reappointment by the incoming Chair in Office of the 3 Personal Representatives of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance.
- Support the specialized work of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Tolerance, and non-Discrimination Department and promote its reporting, education and training programs and other tools to combat anti-Semitism and hate crime.
- Utilize existing ODIHR tools, like “Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide,” as well as the forthcoming training guide to help governments institute hate crime data collection.
- Engage Communities in their own countries and support ODIHR efforts to build the capacity of non-governmental organizations to serve as a bridge between officials and law enforcement and communities to ensure an effective response.
Since 2003, OSCE member states have made a series of commitments to combat anti-Semitism, in areas such as hate crime data collection, law enforcement training, Holocaust education and anti-Semitism. The OSCE is comprised of 56 nations, including the U.S., Canada and the countries of Europe and Eurasia.
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. ADL is currently in a working group of hate crime experts helping to develop a new guide to help governments gather hate crime data to craft effective, targeted responses.
ADL’s recommendations were presented to government officials gathered in Warsaw by Mindy Reinstein, ADL Assistant Director for Government and National Affairs.