OSCE Personal Representative urges participating States to take hate crimes against Muslims seriously

In view of the Oslo massacre last summer and the spate of neo-Nazi serial killings in Germany, the OSCE Chairperson’s Personal Representative on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims Ambassador Adil Akhmetov expressed concerns over the feeling of insecurity among Muslim communities across the OSCE region.

“Although the efforts of the Norwegian and German authorities to bring to justice those responsible for such heinous crimes are commendable, there remain serious concerns about the effectiveness of measures to combat manifestations of intolerance, in particular hate crimes, and discrimination against Muslims,” Akhmetov said.

Akhmetov warned about the risk of  “falling into the error of categorizing such deplorable crimes as isolated acts of certain marginal personalities”, and urged OSCE participating States to look into the broader context and address the root causes of racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Emphasizing the importance of international and regional co-operation in combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, he encouraged participating States to make use of OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ tools and programmes concerning hate crimes and tolerance education. “Participating States should also work with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to determine appropriate ways to review periodically the problem of intolerance against Muslims,” he added.

Ambassador Akhmetov recommended the following measures to combat hate crimes motivated by intolerance against Muslims: promotion of educational activities and raising awareness about racism, xenophobia and intolerance against Muslims; putting in place mechanisms to ensure effective transfer of information from intelligence services to the police to help prevent crimes against Muslims and others; as well as supporting  programmes to monitor and report about hate crimes against Muslims and to provide assistance for the victims.

OSCE press release, 22 February 2012