On 30 March, FRA, together with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, will host the second meeting of the Working Party on combating hate crime, with the participation of representatives from 24 EU Member States. Members of the European Commission, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance will also take part.
"All of FRA’s large-scale surveys show that victims of hate crimes are often reluctant to report their experiences to the police or any other organisation,” said Friso Roscam Abbing, head of FRA’s Communication and Outreach department, in opening the meeting. “The aim of our discussions today is to bring about an increase in reporting and an improvement in recording methods through a detailed exchange of best practices. In this way, the Working Party can contribute to making a tangible change to policy and practice in the EU."
As well as issues of recording and reporting, participants will discuss the need to further strengthen cooperation, especially between the police and civil society, and between agencies and bodies with responsibility for tackling hate crime at the national and local levels. Training programmes for law enforcement and criminal justice staff to help staff recognise incidents of hate crime and deal with them appropriately will also be discussed.
Cooperation will also be a key topic during the second day of the meeting, when the Working Party is joined by representatives of National Human Rights Bodies (NHRBs) to discuss ways of strengthening their cooperation with national governments. On the first day of their own meeting, the NHRBs, together with FRA, the Council of Europe, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions and the European Network of Equality Bodies, will discuss ways of combating hate speech and NHRBs’ potential role in raising awareness and providing victim support.
To coincide with today’s meeting, FRA is publishing a Focus Paper entitled ' Equal protection for all victims of hate crime: the case of people with disabilities'. While hate crimes violate a number of rights enshrined in EU and international legislation, violence, harassment and abuse nonetheless remain common experiences for many people with disabilities. This Focus Paper examines the difficulties faced by people with disabilities who become victims of hate crime, and lists proposals for improving the situation at both the legislative and policy levels.