THE HAGUE (JTA) — More than half of the nongovernmental organizations monitoring hate crimes in the European Union have no working definition for what constitutes a hate crime, according to a new survey.
The survey was conducted in the form of a questionnaire answered by representatives of 44 watchdog NGOs from across the EU. The results are to be released at a conference on hate crime registration in the EU sponsored by the Brussels-based CEJI: A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, scheduled to end on April 19, exactly one month after a Muslim extremist killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
The lacunas exposed in the survey correspond with flawed registration by EU governments, according to CEJI director Robin Sclafani.
“The killings in Toulouse are a tragic reminder that hate crimes continue to grow unabated in Europe,” Sclafani said.
Of the 44 NGOs surveyed, 27 reported that they had no system to verify complaints. Seventeen did not share information with police.
The survey and conference is part of a larger project titled Facing Facts! to help watchdogs become more effective.
“There is an overall paucity of reliable data on hate crimes in the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] area, which impedes the formulation of effective policy responses,” Sclafani said. She noted that only 12 EU members collect “good or comprehensive" data, according to the 2010 Fundamental Rights Agency Report.
The Facing Facts! project is a partnership between CEJI and the Dutch gay rights center COC. Other partners include the British and Dutch Jewish communities’ watchdogs on anti-Semitism: respectively the Community Security Trust and the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel.