New York, NY, November 16, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a report on hate crime across the 56 participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) a "revealing portrait of the failure of too many governments to recognize the unique problem of hate crime."
In conjunction with Human Rights First, ADL issued an analysis of the findings of the annual hate crime report released by the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The office's report includes data from 2008.
"Governments must move past the resistance and fear of quantifying the very real problem of hate crimes," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Data collection and hate crime laws are the jumping off point for a range of political, policy, education, prevention and response measures. When there is data, there is awareness; where there is awareness, there is action.
"The documenting of hate crime does not show a country to be excessively dangerous or racist," Mr. Foxman added. "In fact, reliable hate crime reporting often demonstrates a level of faith held by victims that their government can and will respond."
The League's analysis of the data found that a total of 23 governments failed to gather hate crime data or make it publicly available. ADL also highlighted nine countries that reported fewer than 10 -- and in some cases, zero -- hate crimes. Only eight of the 56 governments submitted information to ODIHR on incidents of anti-Semitism.
"The analysis shows that the hate crime laws and data collection systems of many OSCE states need to be improved in order to more effectively address hate violence and identify targeted groups," Mr. Foxman said.
ADL's analysis identified four benchmarks of compliance by governments with their commitments to monitor and address hate crime:
Which countries collect and publicize hate crime data?
- Which countries report few or no hate crimes?
- Which countries disaggregate data to help identify targeted groups?
- Which countries have adequate hate crime laws that provide authorities with a sound legal basis to respond?
It also included a series of recommendations outlining targeted action governments can take to improve their response 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.
Over the last five 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 representatives participated in the drafting committee for ODIHR's publication, Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide, which provides practical advice for lawmakers, community organizations and law enforcement for responding to bias crimes.