Ways to assist hate crime victims will be looked for in Vilnius

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hate crimesThe international conference ‘Combating Hate Crime in the EU’ will take place on 12-13 November in Vilnius, www.eu2013.lt has informed.

The conference is said to look for answers to the questions relevant to fighting hate crime, such as: What needs to be done to provide the necessary support and assistance to hate crime victims? How should cooperation between stakeholders be improved to combat hate crime more effectively at the European Union (EU) and national level?

The data collected by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) show that violence or other criminal acts motivated by racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance or bias against a person because of his disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or another feature, i.e. the so-called hate crime, is a topical problem in the whole EU.

However, a substantial number of victims of such crime either do not report it to competent authorities or are not provided with the necessary assistance and support for other reasons.

“Hate crime is a problem faced by thousands of EU residents. Our response to this should be resolute. The society needs to realise that such acts will not be tolerated, and victims will be provided with assistance and support,” emphasised Juozas Bernatonis, the Minister of Justice.

The conference in its plenary sessions and working groups will address issues such as the nature of hate crime, improvement of instruments for fighting such crime, support to victims, and awareness raising.

Lithuania's Minister of Justice, Juozas Bernatonis | Photo courtesy of www.eu2013.lt

Lithuania’s Minister of Justice, Juozas Bernatonis | Photo courtesy of www.eu2013.lt

Particular focus will be placed on the implementation of EU Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law and of EU Victims’ Directive as well as on the questions of efficiency and sufficiency of these legal acts.

The conference will bring together more than 300 policy makers and practitioners from the EU as well as national levels, among them representatives from EU institutions and bodies, international organisations, national governments and parliaments, law enforcement institutions, civil society and organisations.

Conference participants will be welcomed by Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice, and Morten Kjaerum, Director of FRA, and addressed by Cecilia Malmstrőm, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

The international conference ‘Combating Hate Crime in the EU’ is organised by FRA in cooperation with Lithuania as the Presidency of the EU Council. Under the Lithuanian Presidency the issue of combating hate crime will be examined at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in December.

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