The Information Against Hate Crimes Toolkit (INFAHCT), developed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), applies the principles and recommendations from ODIHR’s Hate Crime Data-Collection and Monitoring Mechanisms: A Practical Guide to national realities. As such, it contributes to fulfilling ODIHR’s mandate to “assist participating States upon their request in developing appropriate methodologies and capacities for collecting and maintaining reliable information and statistics about hate crimes.”
INFAHCT is an assistance programme aimed at improving systems for monitoring and collecting data on hate crimes. INFAHCT achieves this by helping to build and strengthen the policies and capacities of national institutions and other structures to collect data on hate crimes.
Hate crimes pose a threat to equality, social cohesion and the security of individuals and communities. Addressing hate crimes effectively requires a multi-faceted approach involving a country’s political leadership, justice system, social services and civil society. Such a comprehensive response to hate crimes must be based on a thorough understanding of the nature and scope of the problem.
In recent years, a number of international organizations have prioritized the need for member states to strengthen hate crime recording and data collection. Participating States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have specifically recognized the need to collect data on hate crimes in order to develop evidence-based responses.
The OSCE participating States have committed themselves to:
- Collect, maintain and make public reliable data and statistics in sufficient detail on hate crimes, including the numbers of cases reported to law enforcement agencies, the numbers prosecuted and the sentences imposed;
- Take appropriate measures to encourage victims to report hate crimes; and
- Facilitate the capacity development of civil society to contribute in monitoring and reporting hate-motivated incidents;
INFAHCT primarily addresses the problems of:
- Under-reporting of hate crimes by victims;
- Under-recording of reported incidents; and
- The lack of robust statistics on hate crimes.
INFAHCT offers a menu of options to build or improve national policies, institutions and other structures to record hate crimes and collect and present hate crime data. It aims to increase co-ordination among government agencies, as well as collaboration with civil society organizations involved in monitoring hate crimes.
INFAHCT identifies eight policy areas that participating States should address, in line with their OSCE commitments. Any OSCE state can select priority areas, or request holistic implementation of the programme’s toolkit. INFAHCT offers a set of tools that can be used for each policy area, in co-operation with ODIHR.