Report Shows Underreporting of Hate Crimes Among OSCE States

Washington, D.C., April 12, 2016 … A report jointly released today by Human Rights First and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that hate crimes in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) region continue to go unreported by participating States, which consistently fall short on their commitments to combat hate crime.

The report, “Scorecard on Hate Crime Response in the OSCE Region” identifies a number of recommendations for participating countries, which include the United States. The report comes days before the OSCE meets in Vienna for a conference on the promotion of tolerance and nondiscrimination.

“In some OSCE countries there has been a rise in anti-Semitic hate crime,” noted the report. “This alarming development can be traced to both incitement from neo-fascist groups and the growth of violent Islamist extremist groups. Anti-Semitism is a virulent thread that runs through the ideologies of many extremist groups, even though their worldviews converge on little else.”

Today’s report analyzes data submitted by countries to the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) for its annual hate crimes report. This annual report is an important tool for understanding the nature and frequency of hate crime across the region, and to craft responsive policies. But it only provides a partial picture because many countries either do not collect such data or fail to transmit their findings to the ODIHR on a timely basis. In the current environment—with the refugee crisis, the rise of far-right parties and movements espousing hatred, and an increase in hate crimes—there is an urgent need for the OSCE’s participating States to make reporting a higher priority. 

Only 36 of the 57 participating States submitted information to the ODIHR for 2014. Half of participating States either did not report at all or reported zero crimes for their country. This is simply not acceptable or credible. 

Both Human Rights First and ADL have developed recommendations for the United States to aid its European allies in combating the rise of anti-Semitic and extremist violence, specifically in France, Germany, and Hungary. 

In a report released earlier this year by Human Rights First, “Breaking the Cycle of Violence: Countering Antisemitism and Extremism in France,” which is based on months of research and analysis on anti-Semitism and extremism in France, Human Rights First examines how the rise of the far right and Islamist extremism are converging in a vicious cycle to fuel intolerance and violence. The report focuses on ways that U.S. government leaders can work with their French counterparts to prevent future attacks, promote greater tolerance and inclusiveness, and chart a path forward that upholds our shared commitment to human rights as an integral part of national security.

The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, released in 2014, surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories in an effort to establish, for the first time, a comprehensive data-based research survey of the level and intensity of anti-Jewish sentiment across the world. The poll found that anti-Semitic attitudes are persistent and pervasive around the world. In a follow-up to ADL’s 2014 groundbreaking survey, the League conducted additional polling in Europe, which noted concern about violence against Jews increased significantly by 20 percent in France, 31 percent in Belgium, and 33 percent in Germany. In France, Germany and Belgium, the results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable.