All crimes are capable of inflicting profound physical and emotional damage on their victims. Crimes motivated by hatred, however, not only harm the individual victim but also send a powerful message of intolerance, discrimination and fear to members of the group to which the victim belongs. The fear created by hate crimes is often amplified since these attacks are directed at one or more aspects of the fundamental identity of the victim (ethnicity, religious background, sexual orientation etc.).
Hate-motivated violence intensifies the psychological and social exclusion of targeted communities and groups from society at-large. In addition to weakening communities, hate crimes can actively polarise groups by reinforcing existing divisions, which can translate into increased animosity and violence.
Despite the increasing frequency and devastating consequences of hate crimes, the issue is relatively unacknowledged by the majority of European governments, institutions and societies.
Coalition Europe seeks to mainstream and raise awareness of these issues while engaging key stakeholders in developing a framework to combat hate crime across Europe. We seek your assistance in calling on European governments and intergovernmental organizations to show the political will to combat hate crimes and support hate-crimes victims.
We, the undersigned, in solidarity with Coalition Europe, call on the governments of Europe and European Intergovernmental Organizations (EU, OSCE and the Council of Europe) to take urgent action in the following areas:
Information and Awareness-raising
Raise public awareness of hate crimes through the media and educational programs and by encouraging national and community leaders to publicly acknowledge the gravity of hate crimes and condemn their perpetration
Political and Legal Action
Review, and amend where necessary, national legislation in order to identify and fill gaps in the protection of victims of hate crimes and put in place measures to increase reporting, prosecution and sanctioning of perpetrators of hate crimes
Sensitize and train professionals who deal with victims of hate crimes, in particular members of the criminal justice system
Establish mandatory official data-collection mechanisms at the European, national and local level that will assess the scope, nature and location of hate-motivated violence and allow for more effective official responses
Support and Empowerment of Victims
Support the development of self-help initiatives for victims of hate crimes and provide training, resources and funding for community organizations and leaders to address the problem directly
Provide victims and their communities with adequate support services, including the provision of information and advice, legal aid, psycho-social support; ensure that such services are accessible and funded
Acknowledge the role of NGOs involved in combating hate crimes and establish active dialogue and cooperation with these NGOs, including financial support
Encourage the establishment of coordinated programs for preventing hate crimes at the local, national and European levels; organize these programs in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including civil-society actors and victims
COALITION EUROPE is a Pan-European platform of human rights organizations collaborating to implement single-issue campaigns to pursue a common European human rights agenda.
Europe has in recent years experienced a steady rise in the number of hate-motivated crimes committed within its borders. Increasing Immigration, a fear of fading national identity, of terrorism and of difference have been integral to the swelling feelings of Islamophobia, Anti-semitism and xenophobia throughout Europe and have led to an openly hostile environment against minority communities in many European states.
These fears have all been used as excuses for the acceptance of intolerance and have contributed directly to the rise in hate crimes throughout Europe.
The Coalition Europe campaign - From Hate Crimes to Human Rights - urges European States to commit themselves to establishing and implementing concrete and effective measures for preventing and combating hate crimes.
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