"A Human Rights First Report" http://www.humanrightsfirst.org 2005
A Survey of Violent Hate Crimes
in Europe and North America
In Belfast, Northern Ireland, young men attack a family of Bangladeshi origin, breaking their windows, smashing their front door, and ultimately setting their home on fire. In Moscow, Russian skinheads follow a rabbi from a Jewish communitycenter into a subway underpass to attack him, breaking his bones. In Noeud-les-Mines, France, teenagers repeatedly harass a gay man with homophobic epithets, until one day they douse him with gasoline and set him on fire. In Roisel,France, young men with shaved heads assault two workers of North African origin with baseballbats and iron bars.
These are some of the accounts of individual attacks described in this book. The attacks thatreach the international headlines are generallymore dramatic: bombings and arson attacks onsynagogues, mosques, schools, Jewish or Muslimcommunity centers, and other communal property. But the everyday violence that plagues whole populations occurs largely below the news media.s threshold.
This book focuses primarily on hate crimes and the fear they generate in Europe and North America.and the role of governments, intergovernmental bodies, and civil society organizations in combating these crimes. Human Rights First examines the factors that encourage bias-based violence, and the way governments and community organizations react to the violence. In particular, the book analyzes the legislation and associated anti-discrimination measures that some governments use to effectively monitor, respond to, and prevent hate crimes. Only a handful of European governments have taken these measures. Most European governments are contributing to the climate of escalating violence by failing to monitor these crimes or to enact and nforce laws punishing them.
The range of discrimination in much of Europe is dominated both by the ancient hatreds, slurs, and violence of antisemitism and by a powerful new trend of anti-immigrant violence. These hatreds are fueled by political rhetoric portraying immigrants, refugees, and minority populations as security threats, cultural interlopers, and economic encumbrances. The threat of terrorism and a new extremist political discourse of antipathy toward Muslims and Islam itself has increasingly been given expression through attacks in the streets, the burning of mosques and Islamic schools, and, in an eerie echo of Europe.s not-so-distant past, calls for Muslim citizens to be deported.
In what we call "an assault on identity," Human Rights First describes the large-scale random attacks on members of minority communities who are singled out because of outward displays of their religious or ethnic identity, and the resulting pressure to conceal their identities. Jews are attacked for wearing yarmulkes on the street or in the subway; Sikhs are beaten for wearing turbans or keskis ; and Muslim women are harassed or physically assaulted for wearing headscarves, or hijabs . In addressing a Europe of escalating xenophobia, this book documents the rise of antiimmigrant violence and anti-Muslim polemic in countries such as Denmark, France, and the Netherlands, despite their formal commitments to equal rights.
This book builds upon the findings of Human Rights First's report Antisemitism in Europe: Challenging Official Indifference, published in conjunction with the April 2004 conference on antisemitism in Berlin organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). That report, which built on our 2002 report, Fire and Broken Glass: The Rise of Antisemitism in Europe , responded to a staggering wave of anti-Jewish violence, and was intended to put antisemitism firmly on the human rights agenda. As we stressed at that time, our recommendations to governments on monitoring, reporting, and law enforcement apply equally to racist violence affecting many of Europe.s minority communities, from Roma to people of African, Middle Eastern, or South Asian origin.
This book places the continuing fight against antisemitism within that broader context, while also stressing the need for special measures to combat antisemitism. As we concluded in Fire and Broken Glass ,
'the rise in violence against Jewish communities across Europe is part of a broader pattern of racist violence.but the severity, pan-European scope, and historical roots of this violence require particularly urgent attention as a part of this larger effort to combat racism. In view of the calamitous record of antisemitism in Europe, every effort must be made to ensure that this scourge is not permitted to gather momentum again.'
Since we published Fire and Broken Glass nearly three years ago, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim discourse in Europe has proliferated in public life, driving new waves of racist violence, while antisemitic violence has shown no sign of dissipating. To the contrary, the findings of both official bodies and community-based monitors show a shocking rise in anti-Jewish violence in both France and the United Kingdom, two of the countries in which monitoring has reached a fairly high standard. Moreover, in these and other countries, there has been a disturbing increase in the proportion of hate crimes targeting people, as opposed to those involving only property.
In the Russian Federation, elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, and in Eastern Europe, antisemitism continues to be a potent force. In Russia antisemitic violence is part of an undercurrent of extremism that exposes those who stand out as different to a constant threat of physical attack. The same current of fear that surrounds the routine window-breaking and antisemitic graffiti at the lonely synagogues of Russia.s cities extends also to periodic attacks on members of .non-traditional religions,. Including Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Roman Catholics. The rampages of members of extreme nationalist movements through the marketplaces of Russia.s northern cities, beating and slashing ethnic Chechens, Dagestanis, and Tajiks, bring a chilling echo of the pogroms of the past into an uncertain present.
In examining government responses to hate crimes, this book surveys 53 European and Central Asian countries that are part of the OSCE, as well as the United States and Canada. We address antisemitic and other racist violence as well as violence motivated by biases based on gender, disability, and sexual orientation. As in our previous reports, our particular focus is upon the importance of improved monitoring and reporting, in conjunction with appropriate legislation and effective criminal justice systems.
Since 2002, Human Rights First has focused on the OSCE in part because it brings together these 55 countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America. In the past three years, the OSCE has significantly increased its own focus on antisemitic violence and other forms of racist hate crimes through its Warsaw-based Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Human Rights First attended the OSCE.s first special conference on antisemitism in Vienna, Austria, in June 2003, and a follow-up conference in Berlin in April 2004. Both conferences provided useful venues to highlight the enormous cost of government indifference to antisemitic and other racist violence. At these meetings Human Rights First urged governments to introduce effective monitoring and reporting to fill what we have termed the ”information deficit.”
Human Rights First attended the Berlin conference, as well as a conference on racism and intolerance held in Brussels in September 2004, as part of a delegation of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. The Leadership Conference is the oldest, largest, and most diverse coalition of civil rights and human rights organizations in the United States, with 185 member organizations.
Its delegations in Berlin and in Brussels included representatives of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, the Anti-Defamation League, Global Rights, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Council of La Raza, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, National Partnership for Women and Families, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Women's Law Center, and other organizations.
We jointly advocated for the appointment of OSCE special representatives on racism and on antisemitism. This goal was achieved in December 2004 when the OSCE.s Council of Ministers created a hate crimes program within the OSCE and three personal representatives of the OSCE chairman in office were appointed, tasked with addressing, respectively, antisemitism; anti-Muslim discrimination; and racism, xenophobia, and anti-Christian (and other religious) bias. ODIHR, the OSCE human rights secretariat, received a clear mandate, albeit with limited resources, to develop a program around the collection of data on hate crimes from member states with a view to using this data to better combat them.
In June 2005, Human Rights First attended the OSCE.s follow-up conference on antisemitism and other forms of intolerance in Cordoba, Spain, again as part of a Leadership Conference delegation. This meeting examined the implementation of the commitments made by member states for the fight against hate crimes and discrimination: what had been accomplished and what challenges remained largely unmet. This report was first distributed in a Cordoba Conference edition.
The Cordoba conference held a measure both of disappointment and encouragement. It brought into the open the work still to be done in the participant states of the OSCE, starkly laid out in both this book and in the first report on hate crimes of the ODIHR, also released at the conference.
The ODIHR report provided delegates with the hard facts of their own nations. failures to meet commitments made in Vienna, Berlin, and Brussels to work with the new institutions of the OSCE to fight hate crimes. It showed that most OSCE states had not compiled and submitted to the OSCE reliable statistics on hate crimes; didnot have a strong basis in criminal law to combat hate crimes; and that just 17 of the 55 states had designated an authority responsible for interaction with the ODIHR on discrimination and intolerance.
ODIHR's report also made recommendations on data collection, legislation, law enforcement, and specialized anti-discrimination bodies that are very much consistent with those long advocated by Human Rights First.
The Cordoba conference provided an important initial platform for the three new personal representatives of the OSCE chairman in office. And it made it clear that for these high-level representatives to take the lead in the fight against racism, antisemitism, and anti-Muslim bias, they needed strong mandates, increased resources, and the cooperation of OSCE participant states.
In charting a way forward, this book makes a series of recommendations. These are centered on the importance of improved monitoring, reporting, and effective law enforcement at the national level that ensures equal and effective protection to all those threatened with harassment and violence. Internationally, we urge the participant states of the OSCE to fulfill the commitments they have made to work with OSCE institutions in the fight against racism, antisemitism, and other intolerance.
also on Michael H. Posner
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/discrimination/pdf/everyday-fears-080805.pdf (the following is an excerpt concerning the Danish scene)
Statistics on crimes with an apparent racist motivation have been produced by the Danish Civil Security Service (PET) since 1992.In addition, the Director of Public Prosecution isreportedly notified of cases of “racist/hate speech in violation of section 266b of the Penal Code, and keeps records of charges and convictions,” but does not make public information based on these records. Statistics for 2002 from PET (the latest publicly available) included a total of 63 incidents, consisting of 4 cases of arson, 6 physical ttacks, 20 threats, and 18 of graffiti and propertydamage. 259 The Danish police in 2002 registered the receipt of 36 hate speech complaints under Criminal Code section 266b, compared to 65 cases in 2001. 260
In ECRI's second report on Denmark, it reiterated previous recommendations that statistics be recorded relating to complaints concerning racial discrimination, including “detailed informationabout the number of complaints relating to racism and discrimination in various spheres of life, the subsequent investigation by police and prosecutors where relevant, the judicial assessment of such complaints and the redress or compensation awarded to victims.” 261
In Denmark, as in other European countries, the “war against terrorism” was seized upon by some political leaders to win partisan support by inciting fear of those portrayed as threatening to national values and racial and cultural homogeneity. Foreigners, immigrants, and minorities, not limited to Muslims, were the targets of new broadsides launched in the name of tightening immigration controls and imposing new measures on minority populations, while calls for forced assimilation -and new tests for the loyalty of minority nationals - were openly voiced.
An EUMC survey of the post-September 11 backlash found that Danish political leaders had indulged in appalling manipulation of the fears generated by the attacks in the national election campaign then underway. “Throughout the election campaign, the issue of ‘foreigners' was central,” it observed. It found that most political parties had seized on the events of September 11, with “the Danish People's Party explicitly portraying Muslims as ‘our enemy,' so much so that the party leadership was reported to the police for violation of laws against hate speech.” While Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and some other leaders were credited with more positive statements, the dominant message was that foreigners and minority Danish nationals were under suspicion. 262
The issue of religion also rose to the fore, with the EUMC highlighting that “Danish Muslims were called upon to affirm that the Danish constitution is above the Qur'an.” The far right, in turn, called for direct action, with Dansk Forum advocating a boycott of Muslim businesses. 263 The antiforeigner campaign was accompanied by a rise in hate crimes against “ethnic minorities of all backgrounds.” While this drew upon pre-existing political trends to portray immigrants as a threat to Danish homogeneity, it also involved even more overtly racist appeals. In its May 2002 hearing to discuss Denmark's report on its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the CERD Committee expressed concern over “reports of a considerable increase in reported cases of widespread harassment of people of Arab and Muslim backgrounds since 11 September 2001.” 264
The new government introduced draconian antiimmigrant and anti-refugee measures as abackdrop to ongoing social polarization and rising racist violence. Harsh measures against refugees and immigrants were accompanied by action to cripple or eliminate the special mechanisms established to confront intolerance and racial violence in Denmark. By June 2002, the new government had closed the Danish Board for Ethnic Equality, the only official body mandated to counter racial discrimination in Denmark, while cutting the budget of the Danish Centre for Human Rights and forcing the dismissal of its director. 265
In its concluding observations on Denmarks report on its treaty obligations, the CERD Committee in March 2002 responded to “reports of an increase in hate speech in Denmark,” and while acknowledging “the need for balance between freedom of expression and measures to eradicate racist abuse and stereotyping,”recommended careful monitoring of such speech, with particular attention to the role of politicians and political parties. The Committee also acknowledged the ongoing “restructuring” of the Board for Ethnic Equality and the Centre for Human Rights, and the withdrawal of funding from some NGOs, while pressing the government to strengthen the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities. (After dissolving the Board for Ethnic Equality soon after the CERD committee reviewed its report, the government established a committee to explore the creation of an alternative national specialized body to address racism and intolerance, as required by the European Racial Equality Directive.) 266
While the Danish Institute for Human Rights, a part of the Centre, continued to play an important role in the defense of the rights of minorities in Denmark, it has not played a significant role in monitoring or fighting hate crimes. Act No. 374 of May 28, 2003 on Ethnic Equal Treatment extended the mandate of the Institute, creating a Complaints Committee empowered to receive individual complaints of discriminatory treatment, but it is too early to tell whether efforts will be made to address hate crimes within this mandate. 267 The Committee can issue opinions on whether individual cases constitute violations and recommend free legal aid for judicial proceedings, but “cannot itself order any sanctions or other remedies.” 268 The Committee's mandate does, however, leave scope for the receipt of complaints of bias-motivated harassment and crimes, and for systematic monitoring and reporting on the followup to such complaints. 269
Denmark's reputation for anti-immigrant policies and indifference to anti-racism measures persisted in 2004 and into 2005, despite some legislative reforms in 2003. European Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil-Robles, who conducted a site visit to Denmark in April 2004, expressed concern at “the frequent expressions of strong anti-immigrant statements” in political discourse. 270
In Denmark's 1999 compliance report as a party to the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, responses tend to interpret the scope of the convention as limited almost exclusively to the treatment of the small German minority there, to the exclusion of others. Denmark's summary response under article 6(2), which concerns protection of national minorities against threats and attacks, declares there is no gap in Danish legislative protection and no problem of discriminatory violence. 271
256 In its second report on Denmark, ECRI notes that while existing law could permit motivation to be taken into account, the standard sought is higher: [S]ection 80(1) of the Criminal Code instructs courts to take into account the gravity of the offence and the offender.s motive when meting out penalty, and therefore to attach importance to the racist motive of crimes in determining sentence. While ECRI appreciates this judicial latitude, it favours a more systematic and consistent approach toward combating racist and xenophobic crime, and therefore encourages the Danish authorities to consider the introduction of a provision in this sense. ECRI, .Second Report on Denmark,. adopted on June 16, 2000, and made public on April 3, 2001, para. 9.
available at http://www.enar-eu.org/en/national/Denmark%20Shadow%20Report%202002%20EN.pdf (accessed March 20, 2005).
264 Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 9 of the Convention; Concluding Observations : Denmark, 60 th sess., 2002, available at
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/cfd5ac8f261d5f88c1256be9004e3f5a?Opendocument (accessed April 21, 2005).
265 ENAR, Discriminatory Practices in Denmark . The Board was established in 1997 with a mandate to combat racism and related discrimination. It was empowered to advise authorities, issue opinions on differential treatment in the public or private sphere, and recommend courses of action; however, it could not address individual complaints. The Danish Institute for Human Rights became part of the Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights in January 2003.
persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, available at http://europa.eu.int/eurlex/pri/en/oj/dat/2000/l_180/l_18020000719en00220026.pdf (accessed March 20, 2005).
267 The mandate was extended to cover discriminatory employment practices by Act no. 40 of March 30, 2004. Danish Institute for Human Rights, .The Complaints Committee for Ethnic Equal Treatment,. available at http://www.humanrights.dk/departments/complaint/ (accessed April 28, 2005).
268 Council of Europe, .Report by Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights, on His Visit to Denmark, 13th.16th April 2004,. July 8, 2004, available at http://www.coe.int/T/E/Commissioner_H.R/Communication_Unit/CommDH%282004%2912_E.doc(accessed March 20, 2005).
Danish Institute, .Complaints Committee..
270 He added that he was informed that in 2003, 10 out of 15 convictions for the public expression of racist views concerned politicians of the Danish People's Party and the Progress Party. Council of Europe, .Report by Alvaro Gil-Robles..
Definitions of terms and links
Hate Speech: Definition in Wikipedia
CEJI:Brussels-based Jewish anti-racism organisation.
European equivalent to NAACP, USA. Jewish led. 'A Jewish Voice at a European Level'. Name apparently not explained anywhere on site, at least not easily found. ('Ceji'=
'A highly ghetto name' from Urban Dictionary)
'Humanrightsfirst.org' (Aug. 2008): http://www.humanrightsfirst.org
Further links re: appearance on www.davidduke.com radio show Aug. 20, 2008:
My following comments on this still hold true, although the article shown is from 1998! Many of those organisations read like a Jewish wedding!