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Hate crime rises in Europe, North America

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Violent hate crime is at historically high levels in Europe and North America, a watchdog reported.

The “2008 Hate Crime Survey,” released Thursday by Human Rights First, examines the rate of violent hate crimes by motivation – racism and xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Muslim bias, anti-Roma bias and bias against other religious minorities – in the 56 countries that are members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Information was obtained from official statistics and reports of nongovernmental monitors.

The survey also reports that overall levels of violent anti-Semitic attacks against persons increased in Canada, Germany, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in 2007. Britain had  the highest number of such assualts since monitoring began in 1984.

The Russian Federation is identified as a particular area of concern, with a proliferation of violent hate crimes directed against non-Slavic members of society and immigrants are on a pace to set a record for the fourth year in a row..

Just 13 of the 56 governments surveyed have adequate monitoring and reporting systems on hate crimes in place, according to the report.

For instance, it notes, only five governments publicly report on hate crimes directed at Muslims, despite evidence of such acts throughout North America and Europe. The report includes a ten-point plan to guide governments in strengthening their responses to the problem.

Officials presented the report on Thursday to the bipartisan congressional human rights caucus named for the late U.S. rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.)

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