Hate crimes have been rising in many Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) countries over the past month, severely impacting the security of Jewish and Muslim communities and threatening to undermine the stability of our societies, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) said on November 13.
“Jewish and Muslim communities across our region tell us they have never felt so insecure as today, amidst proliferation of hatred and division,” said ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci. “Now more than ever, all those targeted by prejudice and hate need the support of governments and the solidarity of everyone who stands for peaceful coexistence.”
The attacks by Hamas across Israel on October 7 and subsequent violence in the Middle East have unleashed a wave of antisemitic and anti-Muslim discrimination and hate, ranging from online and offline hate speech, through damage to personal property and the desecration of places of worship, to murder threats and even homicide. This upsurge of hate strikes at the heart of our democracies and the values on which they are based. If left unaddressed, hate crimes can lead to further violence and wider-ranging conflict, the OSCE statement said.
All OSCE countries have committed to combating intolerance, discrimination and hate crime with all the means at their disposal, and it is above all the responsibility of governments to address every hate crime, support affected communities, and to promote tolerance and dialogue in order to ensure peaceful coexistence.
At the same time, ODIHR applauds the efforts of Jewish and Muslim leaders and communities in many parts of the OSCE region who have come together to stem the tide of hatred and division. Promoting interfaith dialogue and partnership, as well as countering hate crime, are key to ODIHR’s work to strengthen mutual respect and understanding across the OSCE region, the statement said.
ODIHR continues to offer its expertise and advice to the countries of the OSCE, based on the many tools it has developed over the years. These include practical guides to improve the security of Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as educational tools to address antisemitism and intolerance against Muslims. ODIHR also offers specialized hate crime training programmes for police and prosecutors, and regularly brings together communities that find themselves the target of hatred with national law enforcement to address their specific security needs. ODIHR’s most recent data on bias-motivated crimes will be published later this month in its annual hate crime report.
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