OSCE States Not Fulfilling Pledge On Hate Crimes; ADL Renews Call For Action

New York, NY, November 18, 2010 … The vast majority of the 56 participating governments in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are failing to adequately address the problem of hate crime and anti-Semitic incidents, according to a new analysis by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Human Rights First.

ADL and Human Rights First analyzed data in the newly released 2009 annual hate crime report of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

"While we are pleased to note advances in addressing hate crime in several OSCE states, too many governments are still falling short," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "As Jews and others continue to be needlessly targeted and victimized by bias-motivated attacks, OSCE countries need to improve data collection and reporting efforts.

"Today we renew our call to all OSCE governments to move forward in the fight against hate crime not just for the sake of the victims but for all their citizens. We all have a stake in improving the response to hate crimes on behalf of all victims. ADL will continue to spotlight governments' performance on this issue and will advocate, country-by-country, for improvements."

The ADL-Human Rights First report (PDF) found that while 20 countries claim to collect information on anti-Semitic crimes, only eight provided information to ODIHR. This points to a worrying gap, since ODIHR received incident data from non-government sources in 29 countries.

The joint report calls on governments to institute policies to address hate crime and to take advantage of the training tools and resources available to OSCE states and organizations that assist governments.

"Our report focuses on data collection because it offers a jumping-off point for a range of responses that enhance the broader battle against discrimination," Mr. Foxman added. "When there is data, there is awareness, and where there is awareness, that can become action."

The report outlines a series of recommendations on how the participating nations could improve their response to hate crimes, including:

  • 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. The joint analysis gauges how governments are living up to these commitments by looking at key benchmarks: for example, are they collecting and publicizing hate crime data? Are they disaggregating data to identify targeted groups?

Over the last six years, 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.

ADL collaborated with ODIHR in preparing a resource guide for community organizations on Preventing and Responding to Hate Crime, and participated in the drafting of 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 OSCE report, Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region - Incidents and Responses, is available on the organization's Web site.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.