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What do we know

Participating States have committed themselves to pass legislation that provides for penalties that take into account the gravity of hate crime, to take action to address under-reporting, and to introduce or further develop capacity-building activities for law enforcement, prosecution and judicial officials to prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Specifically, states have repeatedly committed themselves to collect, maintain and make public reliable data on hate crimes, across the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. In recent years, participating States have consolidated their commitments on hate crime in recognition of the importance of a comprehensive approach in addressing the many facets of the problem.

As the OSCE institution focusing on the human dimension of security, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has been tasked with supporting states in their efforts to meet this range of commitments, and to support the efforts of civil society actors working to prevent and respond to hate crimes.

Every year, ODIHR presents consistent and reliable information from participating States, civil society organizations and inter-governmental organizations on hate crimes, notable incidents and policy responses. This data is released on International Tolerance Day, which falls on 16 November.

Much of the information and data presented on this website has been provided by National Points of Contact on Combating Hate Crimes (NPCs), appointed by the governments of participating States. Particular attention is devoted to gathering data relating to the specific bias motivations on which ODIHR has been asked to focus.

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2016 Hate Crime Data


Forty-four participating States have submitted hate crime information to ODIHR, 18 of which provided detailed statistics in accordance with the bias motivations on which ODIHR reports.

The official figures were complemented by contributions from 125 civil society groups, covering 48 participating States. These contributions amount to 5,601 hate incidents, including 3,519 disaggregated statistical incidents on nine States and 2,082 descriptive incidents on 48 States. This information includes incidents provided by the Holy See, the UNHCR and OSCE missions.

The general level of reporting increased slightly for 2016, but limited data on some bias motives, notably anti-Roma and Sinti hate crimes, continue to indicate under-reporting and gaps in recording. 

Learn more about our annual hate crime reporting efforts here.

General challenges to reporting hate crimes

Under-reporting remains a key challenge. Many victims do not come forward to report hate crimes. This happens for a number of reasons, ranging from language barriers to mistrust in the authorities or fear of reprisals. ODIHR works closely with civil society to overcome this challenge and promote and assist in strengthening co-operation between civil society and governments.

Finally, it is also difficult to track cases of hate crimes at all stages, from investigation through sentencing, due to different recording procedures across criminal justice systems. For instance, police forces may use different definitions than prosecutors.

Learn more about ODIHR’s capacity-building programmes here.