Hate crime poses a very real challenge to the EU’s core values of democracy, justice, solidarity and equality, the FRA told a meeting at the European Parliament on 22 January.
"By breeding intolerance, [hate crime] puts at risk the inclusive and sustainable growth that is at the heart of Europe’s 2020 strategy. A society in which intolerance and hate crime persist does not allow its members to realise their full potential. And the loser is not just the individual, but the entire society.”
Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, head of FRA’s Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, spoke at a meeting of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) on the issue of hate crime.
He began by pointing out that few EU Member States collect comprehensive data on bias-motivated crime, and explained that FRA’s large-scale surveys are one way of filling this gap.
He went on to detail figures from a number of FRA surveys that demonstrate the scale of bias-motivated crime against a number of groups including Roma, Jews and LGBT people, underlining the fact that hate crime does not only affect individual victims but also their family and friends.
FRA emphasises that the persistence of hate crime shows the EU and its Member States need to develop more effective policy and legislative measures to combat the phenomenon. Not only are hate crimes under-recorded, but the vast majority of such offences are not reported to the police or any other organisation. Trust in the law enforcement authorities must therefore be increased in order to counter hate crime and its consequences for those affected.
Following up on FRA’s 2013 Fundamental Rights Conference, which focused on the subject of hate crime, the Agency will be co-hosting a seminar on the topic in April 2014, together with the Greek presidency of the Council of the EU.
Infographic on hate crime in the EU: