On the 12th and 13th July the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) organized workshops in Vilnius devoted to tackling the issue of hate speech. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is pleased to have received the invitation from OSCE and was very pleased to be able to take part in the workshops.
Ewelina Baliko represented EFHR at the workshops, during which crimes motivated by hate and discrimination were discussed. At the meeting, participants gained an in-depth knowledge of the problems faced when identifying hate crimes, familiarized themselves with legal regulations regarding this matter, shared advice on good practice, and discussed the everyday challenges faced by non-governmental organizations battling discrimination, hate speech and other types of crimes.
For a number of years the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE has been publishing hate crime statistics on their website. These statistics are obtained from legal institutions as well as other non-governmental organizations. It is important to note that the statistics regarding Lithuania have not significantly changed over the last few years — the data provided does not comply with facts and society and legal institutions lack knowledge about the importance of hate crimes and the dangers they pose.
It is expected that such workshops will contribute to improving qualifications of non-governmental organizations and encourage society to engage in this ongoing battle against hate crimes.