Working Group on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance

NGOs working on issues of racism, xenophobia and intolerance currently have limited ability to influence the policies of international organizations. Despite high levels of hate crime and xenophobia in the OSCE region, at the moment there is no systematic work being done to counteract the spread of racist views and related acts of violence. The working group will strive to communicate to international actors the urgency and relevance of these issues for the OSCE region and to identify and coordinate a network of strong NGO partners involved in combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Combating hate crimes is a priority area of activity for the working group. It will advocate for more comprehensive and effective national legislation, including improved regulations for the investigation of hate crimes and compensation to victims. As part of this effort, the working group will build on the work of a large number of NGOs active on the issue and will take advantage of the new prominence the topic has gained with intergovernmental organizations. It will also encourage NGOs active in this field to exchange best practices and develop common standards for monitoring hate crimes and providing assistance to victims.

The working group will actively promote stronger international standards to protect against racism, xenophobia and intolerance. For instance, the working group will advocate for Council of Europe member states to ratify Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights asserting states’ commitment to non-discrimination, adoption of recommendations put forward by ECRI, and acceptance of relevant decisions by the OSCE Ministerial Council. The working group will use the opportunity of OSCE human dimension events to raise issues of intolerance and will build on working group members’ existing relationships with Council of Europe bodies to increase awareness of and commitment to dealing with these issues.

Working group members will organize discussions with educators about the need to move from an emphasis on holocaust education, education for tolerance, and principles of intercultural learning to approaches of anti-racist education based on the concept of human integrity. Working group members will also take steps to involve more groups in anti-racist awareness raising campaigns, such as the Action Week Against Racism.