Human Rights Group Urges Governments to do More to Fight Hate Crimes

June 6, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

BUCHAREST, Romania: Hate crimes are on the rise in many countries, an international human rights group warned Wednesday, urging governments to do more to combat violent discrimination.

Human Rights First said countries should enact stronger laws that address violent hate crimes to help governments "to more effectively deter, detect, and punish them."

"Bias-motivated violence remains a serious problem in Europe," said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First. "While a few governments like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have undertaken to systematically monitor hate crimes, most governments don't even collect baseline statistics on the problem."

The group's report, which includes hate crime incidents throughout Europe and North America, was published in Bucharest to coincide with a conference by the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe focusing on combating discrimination.

"Prejudice based on race, ethnicity, and national origin continue to be among the principle driving forces behind hatred and intolerance," the report said, adding that lethal violence was reported in areas of the former Soviet Union.