The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians welcomes the 2012 Hate Crime Report released today by OSCE/ODIHR.* “This report creates awareness – and awareness is the first step towards a remedy,“ says the Observatory’s director Dr. Gudrun Kugler.
The annual report focuses on racist and xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes, as well as hate crimes on the bias against Roma and Sinti, Christianity and other religions and grounds. In the area of hate crimes against Christians, only fifteen OSCE participating states** disaggregate their data. Of these countries, only six*** submitted their data to the report.
Striking passages of the report involve for the year 2012:
– German official law-enforcement figures recorded 414 crimes based on bias against religion, 18 of which involved violence.
– For Hungary, the Holy See reported ten cases of damage to church property; 89 cases of church desecrations, including seven involving thefts of church property.
– The Swedish police recorded 258 anti-religious hate crimes, of which 200 were anti-Christian.
– In the United Kingdom, official law-enforcement figures in England, Wales and Northern Ireland record 1,543 anti-religious hate crimes. In Scotland, 687 cases were prosecuted.
Dr. Gudrun Kugler, says that “it is very important that all European states begin to disaggregate their crime data collection also with regard to Christianity, considering that hate crimes against Christians in Western Europe are on the rise.” She also calls on states and NGOs to submit their data to ODIHR and work closely with international human rights institutions to find solutions.
Kugler continues: “We need to start discussing this problem instead of negating it in order to find remedies. Otherwise hate crimes against Christians will increase even more, and there will not be quick solutions.“
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, which contributed its data to the Hate Crimes Report 2012, appreciates the constructive working relationship with ODIHR. The data of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians covers besides hate crimes also legal restrictions of and social intolerance against Christians and is available on www.IntoleranceAgainstChristians.eu.
Definition: A hate crime is a crime which is motivated by intolerance towards a certain group within society. The act must be a crime under the criminal code of the legal jurisdiction in which it is committed, and it must have been committed with a bias motivation. A major concern is that hate crimes have a deep impact on victim communities.
Link to the OSCE/ODIHR Hate Crimes Report 2012:http://tandis.odihr.pl/hcr2012/