Czech NGO report finds Muslims and Roma most frequent victims of hate violence
A total of 86 cases of hate violence in the Czech Republic were recorded during the year 2014 by the In IUSTITIA organization, which aids the victims of such crimes. The incidents most frequently happened because of the victims' actual or perceived ethnicity, nationality, or religious faith.
The number of attacks perpetrated by "ordinary people" who are not members of extremist groups is rising. The growth in Islamophobia is one of the most significant trends.
In IUSTITIA released the findings in its annual report, which news server Romea.cz has seen. Back in 2011 the group recorded just 57 cases of hate violence.
Hate violence includes verbal attacks, intimidation, threats, physical attacks, sexual attacks, including through online social networks, causing damage to people's property and/or real estate, and murder. Perpetrators commit hate violence because of the victim's actual or perceived skin color, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, political convictions, disability, group membership or homelessness.
"The typical victim of hate violence is a man between the age of 25 and 45 who has Czech citizenship. Those most at risk, according to the incidents reported, are people of the Muslim religion and Romani nationality," the report states.
The most frequent kind of hate violence is verbal attacks. In roughly one-third of the cases a physical attack was involved.
Intimidation and threats are not infrequent. Two-fifths of the attacks happen between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.
One-third of the incidents happened in Prague, with dozens occurring in the Moravian-Silesian and Ústi regions. Cities where the most attacks occurred include Brno and Havířov.
The perpetrators were eventually discovered in 40 of the incidents. In 17 cases they were members of the ultra-right.
According to the report, the Czech Police "clearly explained the hate motive" in half of the incidents reported. In 11 cases police did not investigate the incident as a hate crime even though they had information about the motivation.
The report finds that while there is not a significant extremist movement in the Czech Republic, the number of cases of hate violence is not declining. Attacks perpetrated by members of the "ordinary population" are increasing.
The authors of the report also consider it "highly alarming" that some politicians, both female and male, and some local council leaders are also demonstrating a tendency to institute repressive solutions to problems. The report finds that the limit of what is considered acceptable in this regard is being shifted by the media and those using social networking sites.
In IUSTITIA reports that academia is not focused enough on this issue and is not researching it. There are also too few organizations following the situation and dedicated to preventing hate violence.
The Czech Government's Hate Free Culture campaign is partially addressing the issue, according to the report. Hate violence victims have limited access to justice, according to the report, because there is a lack of legal services available due to insufficient finances and "legislative limits".
Most of the subsidies available in the Czech Republic do not make it possible to provide hate violence victims with representation in court or legal aid, the report states. In IUSTITIA has been focused since 2009 on preventing hate violence and aiding the victims of such crimes.
The organization now works in Brno, Česke Budějovice, Kladno and Prague. They have also been running a mobile counseling center since last year.
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