29 July, 2014

Solidarity with the victims of hate crime

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Category: European Action Day, Guest writer, hate crime, Victims of hate crime
Gubaz Koberidze
3 pm

22 julyeadLOGOWritten by: COVIDOD (Council of Victims of Hate Crimes and Discrimination)

Many times, when we talk about hate crimes and hate speech we forget to think about those who suffer these crimes, usually in silence. The ‘dynamic of hate’ works in a way that makes the victims divided and isolated. This dynamic reduces a person’s reality to a stereotype of the social group to which it belongs. After that, the ‘different’ is identified and seen as lower and unequal; and finally, something very dangerous happens, the person or collective is dehumanized, its basic rights are reduced and as a consequence of this process serious attacks happen.

All around Europe, even though many countries do not have official data about discrimination and hate crimes, it is evident that these incidents happen. Prejudices and intolerance against the Roma, Maghreb or homeless people, Black, Chinese, Muslim, Jewish, disabled, LGBT or other people belonging to stigmatized groups, are the main basis to subsequent aggressions and attacks. However, most of these incidents are not collected specifically as hate crimes, leaving out the aggravation that this conduct involved and also interfering in the recognition of the victim as such. This lack of recognition is a further damage to the victim or the group.

For these reasons, in October 2012 the European Union established the Directive on minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (Directive 2012/29/EU) overwhelmingly approved by the European Parliament (611 votes in favor, 9 against and 13 abstentions), granting minimum rights to the victims, regardless of the Member State where they are. These basic standards should assure that in every Member State of the EU, victims are respectfully treated, and that the police, prosecutors and Judges have adequate training to address hate crimes properly. In the same way that significant progress in the protection of victims of gender violence or terrorism has been achieved in some countries, the support for victims of hate crimes needs a specific attention and measures.

The crimes against victims of hate harm not only individuals and groups but also democratic societies, because it is an attack to our system of coexistence where solidarity and empathy with the victims should be fundamental values. Therefore, from a humanitarian and democratic perspective, demands in relation with the victims of hate are clear: more and better attention from the public institutions to the victims and their families, greater procedural safeguards to prevent the loneliness and abuse of the victims, develop a social sensitivity to understand their problem and promote a deep empathy with them and their situation.

 


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