OSCE urges members to get tough on hate crimes

11th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

In a joint statement presented to the meeting, governments were asked to ensure that police and investigators were properly trained and instructed to identify, investigate and register the motives of such crimes.

Vienna -- Europe's security body OSCE urged member nations to do more to fight hate crimes conducted against people on the basis of ethnic background, religion or sexual orientation.

"We can see an increase in openly-expressed hostility towards minorities, and at the same time reports of increasing numbers of hate crimes," said OSCE director Janez Lenarcic.

"Even where this hostility does not translate into violence, many minority communities say they feel fearful and vulnerable," added Ambassador Lenarcic, director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

Opening a conference on hate crimes in Vienna last week, Lenarcic said the 56 OSCE members had "repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to combat crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.

"While these commitments are important, the true test is whether they lead to results on the ground."

He added that in times of crisis, minorities and vulnerable groups tended to become scapegoats for the ills of society.

In a joint statement presented to the meeting, governments were asked to ensure that police and investigators were properly trained and instructed to identify, investigate and register the motives of such crimes.

Those responsible for hate crimes should be held accountable under the law in a well-documented and publicised way, the joint statement urged.

More than 130 experts and representatives of governments and civil society were taking part in the two-day meeting.

AFP/Expatica

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