As Hate Rhetoric Dominates Political Sphere, Report Shows Underreporting of Bias-Motivated Incidents Among OSCE States

Washington, D.C.— As xenophobic and hate-filled rhetoric dominates political discourse in Europe and the United States, Human Rights First and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today released a report analyzing hate crime data in the Organization for Society and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) region. The report documents the failure of OSCE participating States to uphold their commitments to record and prevent hate crimes.

In both Europe and the United States, the number of hate crimes is rising along with public expressions of hatred fanned by extreme political forces. Immediately following Brexit, which was fueled in part by xenophobia, there was a significant uptick in reported incidences of hate crimes in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. And in the wake of the recent U.S. election, overt racism, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry have threatened citizens and vulnerable groups.

“In the current environment, with the refugee crisis, the rise of far-right parties and movements espousing hatred, and a rise in bias-motivated incidents throughout the region, there is an urgent need for prevention, data collection, and reporting to receive higher priority,” noted the organizations in today’s report.

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 crimes across the region and whether countries are adequately addressing them, and to craft responsive policies. However, the organizations note that the report only provides a partial picture, as many countries either do not collect such data or fail to transmit their findings to the ODIHR on a timely basis. In addition, a country fulfilling their data collection commitments may not be doing all they can to prevent hate crimes.

Out of the 57 participating OSCE States,  only 41 submitted official information to ODIHR for 2015 and only 34 submitted data. Twenty-three countries did not report any data, and only 21 reported data disaggregated by bias type or type of crime. The organizations note that detailed disaggregation of data is crucial to assess the problem and develop sensible policy responses. While more participating States submitted information and disaggregated data than in 2014, a significant number of OSCE countries still do not provide sufficient information and data to the OSCE.

Human Rights First will soon release a report on xenophobia and extremism in Germany, which provides recommendations for the U.S. and German governments to address the issues of rising intolerance and xenophobia, including antisemitism and Islamophobia, with political will, institutional coordination, collaboration with civil society, public support, and the active support of allies and international organizations.


Published on November 30, 2016


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