Thursday 16 November marks International Day of Tolerance, and the release of ODIHR data on hate crimes across Europe.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) collects information from OSCE participating States, civil society and inter-governmental organizations about hate crime annually.
Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice towards particular groups of people. To be considered a hate crime, the offence must meet two criteria. The first is that the act constitutes an offence under criminal law. Secondly, the act must have been motivated by bias.
Information in the ODIHR report is categorised by the bias motivations OSCE/ODIHR has been mandated to report on by participating States.
Ireland should regularly submit hate crime data to ODIHR, and has done so in the past, but failed to submit any data for 2015. Hate crime data are collected by the Central Statistics Office and An Garda Síochána , but are not made publicly available. Although Ireland has no explicit hate crime laws, the state collects information about crimes with bias indicators under its international obligations.
In 2015, the state did not submit any information on hate crimes (per the ODIHR definition) recorded by police. In previous years, the Irish government had reported small numbers of hate crimes overall – 53 in 2014, down from 109 in 2013, 118 in 2012 and 162 in 2011. These figures relate to all hate crimes and include racism and xenophobia, anti-Semitism, bias against Roma & Sinti, bias against Muslims, and bias against other groups on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Of the 53 hate crimes reported by the state in 2014, 43 were racist or xenophobic and 2 were anti-Semitic. There is no breakdown by type of crime,
Additionally, ENAR Ireland reported 34 physical assaults, including five that were committed by groups and six causing serious injuries; 58 incidents of threats; two arson attacks; 17 incidents of damage to property; and 11 incidents of graffiti.
Civil society groups are invited by ODIHR to submit reports of hate crimes for review and publication alongside data from the state. ENAR Ireland does so using data from the iReport.ie independent racist incident reporting system, verified by Ulster University. Other civil society groups may also add reports they have received.
The data for 2016 will be released tomorrow Thursday 16 November at hatecrime.osce.org – here is a quick summary of the ENAR Ireland submission I compiled for 2016.
2016 Ireland – data from iReport.ie
- Physical assaults – 27, of which 3 were against Muslims, 1 against Roma, and 1 anti-Semitic
- Attempted assault – 1
- Threats – 41
- Criminal damage – 7
I’m very happy to answer questions on this data – please contact me at L.Michael@ulster.ac.uk