OSCE human rights body launches information system and hate incidents report

OSCE Press release

WARSAW, 12 October 2006 -- The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today launched a tolerance and non-discrimination information system that focuses on issues such as hate incidents, xenophobia and religious freedom in the OSCE's 56 participating States.

The OSCE/ODIHR also issued a report on hate crimes and violent manifestations of intolerance in the first half of 2006.

"Our Office has been tasked to serve as a collection point for information related to tolerance and non-discrimination issues and to closely follow hate-motivated incidents in the OSCE region. The website and the hate incidents report are our way to carry out this important task and to raise awareness about the need to fight intolerance," said Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of the OSCE/ODIHR.

The website gives access to reports, action plans, practical initiatives, tools and resources relating to anti-Semitism, freedom of religion or belief, gender-based discrimination, hate crime, hate on the Internet, homophobia, intolerance against Muslims, racism and xenophobia, as well as on Roma and Sinti issues.

The website can be accessed from the OSCE website or directly at: http://tnd.odihr.pl

The report, 'Challenges and Responses to Hate-Motivated Incidents in the OSCE Region, January-June 2006,' is based on information from OSCE States, as well as international and non-governmental organisations. It gives examples of responses of States to hate-motivated incidents as well as challenges that Governments and civil society face in this regard.

"While the report is by no means a complete overview of all hate incidents in the OSCE region, it shows some worrying trends," said Ambassador Strohal. "The rise of racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and discriminatory discourse coming from political leaders gives cause for concern. Actions against human rights defenders which are committed on the basis of their actual or perceived affiliation to a particular community are also continuing.

"I see this report as an important early-warning tool because it highlights areas where stronger responses to violent acts of hatred are needed."