Observatory Reports 191 Hate Crimes to OSCE

May 22, 2017 by

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe recently reported 191 hate crimes against Christians in 16 European countries to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) for inclusion in its 2016 hate crimes report.

Every year on November 16th, International Tolerance Day, the OSCE releases its annual hate crimes report. The report provides an overview of data collected on hate crimes, and of responses by governments and civil society in the 57 OSCE participating States for the previous year.

The OSCE defines a hate crime as “a criminal act committed with a bias motivation.” Hate crimes can involve threats, property damage, assault, murder, or other criminal offenses. According to the OSCE, “bias motivations” may be discerned from the context of the incident by looking at time, place and location of the offense, whether the victim or witness perceives that it was motivated by bias, and “cultural differences” — a history of animosity between the victim’s group and the suspect’s group. In cases of attacks against property, the significance of a particular structure or location can be an indicator.

Of the hate incidents reported by the Observatory, the majority were acts of vandalism or destruction at places of worship. As in 2015, there continued to be abuse and harassment of Christians in some refugee accommodations. Christmas displays, Christian schools and cemeteries were also frequent targets of hate incidents.

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