Address and Recommendations at the OSCE human rights conference 2022 - Session "Tolerance and Non-Discrimination I"

Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом РОО Центр «Сова» либо касается деятельности иностранного агента РОО Центр «Сова».

SOVA Center took part in the OSCE human rights conference in Warsaw on September 26 - October 7, 2022. Below is the SOVA's statement for the session "Tolerance and Non-Discrimination I".



Dear moderator, dear participants!

Firstly, I would like to start with complimenting my country – Russia. During the first half of the past decade, the level of hate crimes in Russia was substantially reduced. Most of the radical far-right groups were dismantled. But in the last five years, we no longer see any decrease in the level of hate crimes. Perhaps the reason for that is that the policy of countering them was based on actions against extreme political groups. But we are seeing new xenophobic organizations that are no longer political and that practice violence, mass threats, various forms of economic coercion, etc.

The most notable such movement is the so-called Male State. Its supporters carried out attacks based on skin color, sexual orientation, gender, and other characteristics, especially against women for so-called "race betrayal". Male State also carried out effective harassment campaigns against businesses whose advertisements included elements of diversity in terms of sexual orientation or skin color. Male State was banned as an extremist organization, but did not suspend its activities.

Perhaps, to counter new threats, we need new tools. We recommend that the ODIHR OSCE holds a debate on this issue, in addition to other issues that we discussed earlier, and which are reflected in our recommendations

Secondly, my country is currently involved in a military conflict. During any such conflict, hostility toward the other side is, alas, inevitable. However, hostility must not be always determined by ethnicity. For example, during the military operations in Georgia in 2008, no increase in ethnic hatred towards Georgians was observed in Russia. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about anti-Ukrainian rhetoric in 2022. We are confident that even in a conflict situation all states are obliged to take measures to counteract the ethnic hate speech.

Thirdly, we know that in a number of situations, representatives of the state and the public voice their concerns about the "threat of migration". For example, in 2021 in Russia, a full-blown anti-migrant campaign was launched in the official media, in the statements of official and pro-government politicians and public figures, and the media. And this campaign dominated the media space until February 24 of this year. We insist that all states should avoid populist campaigns of this kind.



Our recommendations

For ODIHR OSCE:

1. To consolidate and summarize the experience of comprehensive counteraction to groups, not only political in the narrow sense of the word, engaging in and promoting violence, from the investigation of individual crimes to the identification and dismantling of the infrastructure of these groups (identifying their sources of financing, leaders and coordinators of acts of violence, etc.). If necessary, we suggest holding an international expert seminar on this topic.

2. To organize a series of seminars for law enforcement officers from different countries in order to share successful experiences in collecting information on and statistical recording of hate crimes.

3. Based on the existing experience of comparative analysis of the legislation of the participating countries in countering hate crimes, to conduct a comparative analysis of a wider range of national legislation in the field of combating intolerance, particularly legislation that deals with incitement to hatred, discrimination, and the activities of the groups concerned.

4. To supplement the comparative analysis of legislation with the comparative analysis of law enforcement in the OSCE member states, primarily related to countering hate crimes and incitement to hatred.

 

For OSCE Member States:

1. To adjust crime recording systems so that suspected hate motive could be recorded at any stage, including at the earliest stage of the crime-recording process. The investigation of hate crimes is more effective when conducted by specialized units, but it should also be conducted by ordinary police units.

2. To publish the statistics on hate crimes, including their types, regions, and the number of victims. The official statistics should be based on both court decisions (both proven and unproven cases) and the number of opened criminal investigations.

3. To make more active use of the information collected by NGOs engaged in systematic monitoring of the activities of racist groups and to consult with NGOs regarding law enforcement issues.

4. To adjust the legislation on hate crimes and related activities, including public incitement, organizational activities, financing, etc. The legislation should direct the focus of law enforcement agencies on the prosecution, first and foremost, of the most dangerous crimes against the person. The rules and instructions implemented within law enforcement agencies should also focus on this priority.

5. To evaluate national hate speech laws and their enforcement and implementation basing on the six-part threshold test proposed by the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2013, including the so-called six-part test for determining public statements’ real threat.

6. To develop and adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination laws containing effective and valid rules and procedures to prove discrimination.

7. Public officials should have no right to express publicly their intolerance or disrespect to any minorities and, in general, any ethnic or similar groups. Civil service legislation should include effective sanctions against such actions. These penalties also need to be made public. This policy should also be implemented in situations of crises of any kind and military conflicts.