ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive September 2010

Headlines 24 September, 2010

EDISON RELIGOUS LEADERS CALLING ON COMMUNITY TO 'STOP THE HATE' (usa)

23/9/2010- After a recent string of bias incidents, a rally, called "Stop the Hate," has been planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday by the Metuchen-Edison Clergy Association at Congregation Beth-El at 91 Jefferson Blvd. According to the synagogue's Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, the rally is in response to a series of hate crimes around the area, particularly incidents expressing anti-Semitism. "Over the past year, there have been so many incidents of anti-Semitism and swastikas popping up, like at my synagogue and other places," Rosenberg said, adding that he and his wife were also victims of a recent verbal attack. "Basically, what we're trying to say is that we're one world, we're one community, and if you hate one group, eventually you're going to hate all groups. "An act upon one is an act upon all," he said. "I thought it was important to talk about it. Lets' take a breath, stop the hate and unite." Rosenberg said Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, Police Chief Thomas Bryan, Assemblyman Peter J.Barnes III, D-Middlesex, and other local officials are expected to attend the event along with more than a dozen clergy members. "It's something that really has to be address," Ricigliano said Thursday. "There should not be hate issues for any ethnicity or any religious group." Rosenberg made reference to several bias incidents reported in Edison over the past year, including swastikas that were scratched into parked motor vehicles at a Lexus car dealership on Route 1 last month. Earlier this month, township police increased patrols around local synagogues and several other locations during the Jewish High Holy Days. Rosenberg, the son of Holocaust survivors who has written and taught extensively on the death of 6 million Jews during World War II, said some teens and other young people are learning this behavior either from their home environment or from friends at school. "You don't learn this at birth," he said. "It's not something that's innate to you as a baby. You learn hate." But it's not just young people who are expressing hate, he added. "Throughout the world, all you have to do is watch TV and see all the uprising that is going," he said. "These are not just young people. These are adults. So hate has no age. Hate has no color. Hate has no race."
My Central Jersey

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THE EPIDEMIC OF HATE CRIMES AGAINST THE VERY VULNERABLE REVEALS A CALLOUSNESS AT THE HEART OF SOCIETY (uk)

An impassioned plea from the father of a disabled girl after yet another attacker is given a lenient jail sentence.
By Ian Birrell

22/9/2010- David Askew was a kind and trusting man who just wanted to enjoy his life. He smiled a lot, put other people first and, according to his elderly mother, was a true gentleman who never saw bad in anyone. But for more than a decade, this sweet-natured character had to endure a daily gauntlet of hate as he went about his life in Hattersley, Greater Manchester. It was like bear-baiting, said one neighbour, as local teenagers screamed abuse, broke windows and harassed Mr Askew for his money and cigarettes. Eventually, one long day in March, it went too far and he collapsed and died, tormented to a lonely death. This week, one of those teenagers who drove him to his death was convicted on minor charges of harassment and sentenced to just 16 weeks in a young offenders' institution. The 19-year-old lived just doors away, and had even gone on television to brag about how he was Mr Askew's 'protector'. But it is too easy just to shiver with disgust at this unpleasant youth, then turn the page. For Mr Askew had learning difficulties. So he was different. He was weak. And now he is dead, the latest statistic in an epidemic of hate crime against the most vulnerable members of our society that should make us all pause for thought.

Every day, people with disabilities are attacked in their homes, spat on in the street and taunted in their towns. And every year, this torrent of abuse, bullying and torture ends with more and more names on the list of those who die in terrible circumstances simply because they are disabled. Last year, a horrified nation was engulfed in outrage after the death of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter after years of abuse from neighbours. Politicians, police chiefs and council officials all said 'never again', mouthing platitudes of concern once it emerged that she had complained to the authorities on 33 separate occasions. But little gets done to stop the tide of hatred and hostility. Was the outrage synthetic or are we just a callous country when it comes to those less fortunate than ourselves, a brutal society with no sense of shame?

This week, a new report offered evidence of 68 violent deaths of disabled people - nearly one-third of them in the first seven months of this year alone - and more than 500 other potential disability hate crimes over the past three years alone. Anne Novis, the report's author and a wheelchair user, has herself been attacked several times. In the most recent case she was shopping near her home in Greenwich, South-East London, when a man suddenly rammed his face in hers, screamed that she should have been killed at birth and started beating her. The details of many of the killings of disabled people in recent years are sickening. The issue was first raised two years ago in a pioneering report called Getting Away With Murder which highlighted how one disabled man was disembowelled and another murdered for a £5 bet. A woman was urinated on and filmed as she lay dying in a doorway, while a fourth victim was made to wear a dog-collar, treated like a slave for years then forced off a railway viaduct. And even as the Manchester teenager was sentenced on Monday for his role in Mr Askew's torment, a man was being charged just 30 miles away in Liverpool for the murder of Gary Skelly, a 53-year-old with learning difficulties who died from head injuries.

It is easy to blame a few vile yobs for these crimes. Too easy. Hate crime is merely the most extreme articulation of the prejudice that disabled people face each and every day. They are the ultimate manifestation of a society that holds no place in its heart for people with disabilities, born out of fear for those who are different and a perverted idea of superiority. One killer even said: 'I'm not going to jail for that muppet,' underlining his disdain for his victim. Are these attitudes surprising when a survey by the charity Scope found that a majority of Britons believe most people view those with disabilities as inferior? Given this horrific finding, it is hardly surprising that people with disabilities find it so much harder to get jobs, are more likely to live in poverty and will be paid less and bullied more if they do find work. Nor is it a shock to learn that nine out of ten people have never had a disabled person in their house for a social occasion and that four out of five people have never worked with someone who is disabled. Well, have you? The truth is that disabled people are the ignored minority, left behind in the battle against bigotry. Racism and homophobia are, quite rightly, unacceptable these days. But it still seems fine for Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, to make a bad taste joke about the Special Olympics on a popular talk show, for pop stars and Hollywood pin-ups to call each other 'retards' and for reality television shows like The X Factor to use people with learning difficulties as a prop to build their ratings.

When people with physical disabilities are figures of fun and mental incapacity is a term of abuse, is it any wonder that families turn away from my profoundly disabled daughter when she is out in the park? And if those with learning difficulties are mocked by celebrities and excluded from society, is it any wonder that some inadequates treat them with fear and hostility? The drip-drip of desensitisation ultimately demeans us all. These blinkered attitudes are reflected by the authorities when it comes to investigating hate crimes. The problem begins in school, where too many teachers tolerate the use of hateful words in the playground and fail to tackle attacks on disabled pupils. For example, I've come across a story of a child having their wheelchair tampered with and another, who was epileptic, pushed over deliberately by a group of students who hoped it would give their victim a seizure - which they found amusing. In neither case were complaints taken seriously. As for those who have been murdered, their abuse normally begins with the kind of petty anti-social behaviour that was so familiar to Mr Askew. But again and again, the police and local authorities fail to take seriously the minor offences that make life a daily misery for thousands of disabled people, and then the problem spirals out of control. Indeed, officialdom too regularly behaves like judges in rape trials from days gone by who blamed the victim.

So what happens all too often is that headteachers tell pupils to toughen up, the police frequently shrug off complaints as being a fact of life for those with disabilities, while local authorities often make the victims move home, not their assailants. The Home Office does not even bother publishing data on hate crimes against the disabled, unlike crimes against some other minorities. Although one helpline has reported a near-doubling in the number of calls from disabled victims in the past year, there have only been 576 prosecutions over the past two years, compared with 11,264 for racial and religious crimes over the past year alone. Tellingly, 31 per cent of those prosecuted for disability hate crimes were acquitted, compared with 13 per cent of those accused of other crimes. And what makes these hate crimes worse is that they are often so-called 'mate' crimes - carried out by supposed friends, neighbours or trusted carers, taking advantage of the victim's vulnerability. Again this week, a care home manager in Bristol was convicted of stealing nearly £70,000 from two pensioners with severe learning difficulties. The thief was not jailed, of course - the victims were only disabled people, after all.
The Daily Mail

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SWASTIKA CARVING ON FAR-RIGHT POLITICIAN WAS SELF-INFLICTED: POLICE (Sweden)

18/9/2010- A far-right Swedish politician is questioning the political timing of a police report that concludes an attack that left a swastika carved into his forehead was self-inflicted. “I find it very interesting that the police chose to give this certificate just before the election,” Swedish Democrat politician David von Arnold Antoni told Sydsvenskan. “There are certainly those who can benefit from it in the election.” As previously reported, Antoni claims he was savagely attacked by two masked men on the evening of Friday, September 10. After the men forced themselves into his apartment, one held Antoni down while the other carved a swastika into his forehead. Antoni said the men spoke Swedish accented in Arabic and called him “Svenne bastard” and “Swedish devil” during the attack, Sydsvenskan reports. Anti-racist and radical leftist graffiti was spray-painted onto Antoni’s home earlier that day.

After investigating the attack as a hate crime, police have concluded Antoni made the whole thing up and are contemplating charging him with filing a false report. “This is a bitch, not only that resources he cost, but what he has done can’t be more shameful,” an officer with high levels of transparency in the investigation told Sydsvenskan. Doctors who examined Antoni also have concluded his injuries are fake on a 9-out-of-10 scale. The certificate issued by the Office of Forensic in Lund, says, “Strong reasons concerning the location and appearance suggest that is self-inflicted injury.” Antoni remained steadfast on his claim he was attacked after hearing the forensics reports. The case is reminiscent of a scene from the movie "Inglorious Basterds" “The Right Doctor’s certificate is not truthful,” he told Aftonbladet. “I do not accept his assessment.” “What I said in my declaration is true. I was attacked by two men who carved a swastika in my forehead.”

The news comes as Sweden is set to vote in national elections. With neither of the two major coalitions able to break past a 50-percent majority in opinion polls, the Swedish Democrats are set to become kingmakers in the next parliament. Leader from both major coalitions have vowed to not work with the far-right nationalist group. The Swedish Democrats had seen an increase in support after news of the swastika-carving broke. It is not yet known how the police and forensics reports will affect their standing. Antoni, who is standing for the Swedish Democrats in local races in Malmo, has gone into hiding since the attack took place and has not been photographed. He refused to show his injuries to a reporter with Aftonbladet when asked.

If true, the case echoes that of Ashley Todd, a volunteer of the US Presidential campaign of Republican John McCain, who claimed she was assaulted and had the letter “B” carved into her face by an African-American supporter of Democrat Barack Obama. The attack was later proven to be self-inflicted by Todd, who may have been part of a discrediting campaign by the Internet group Anonymous.

UPDATE (2010.09.18): David Von Arnold Antoni has told The Right Perspective that the forensics report is wrong and politically motivated, seeing that it was issued the day before national elections in Sweden. He plans to issue a video of himself showing his injuries tomorrow.
The Right Perspective

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Headlines 17 September, 2010

JEWISH HIGH SCHOOL ON MERCER ISLAND DEFACED WITH ANTI-SEMITIC GRAFFITI (usa)

Washington's only Jewish high school was defaced Thursday night by anti-semitic graffiti, including swastikas and references to gas chambers.

17/9/2010- Washington's only Jewish high school was defaced Thursday night by anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas and references to gas chambers. Members of a congregation that meets at Northwest Yeshiva High School on Mercer Island discovered the vandalism Friday morning, said Rabbi Bernie Fox, head of the school. "It is quite substantial," he said. Orange, blue and gray paint was scrawled across much of the building's external wall and extended to the upper floor. Fox suspects the vandals were aware this evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when Jews pray and seek forgiveness for wrongdoings. "Yom Kippur is pretty regularly, in the Seattle community, a time when synagogues get tagged," Fox said. But he wonders whether the vandals truly understand what they're suggesting, with their spray-painted arrows labeled "this way to the gas chambers." "Has civility and society degenerated to the extent that we actually contemplate wiping out cross-sections of our fellow citizens because they don't share our religious beliefs?" asked Fox, whose father was a Holocaust survivor. School officials are reviewing security tapes with police, and they hope to clear the paint from the sanctuary windows before this evening's service, Fox added. The school, which includes grades 9-12, was not in session Thursday. Enrollment ranges between 80 and 120 students. Neighbors said they were shocked by the vandalism. "It's not something we want happening in our neighborhood," Kevin Pettigrew said. Rabbi Yechezkel Kornfeld, who leads the congregation that discovered the graffiti, said he's never experienced such overt anti-Semitism in Seattle."It's a kick in the gut," he said. "I've been here for 35 years, and... we've never had an incident like this," he said. "Whoever it is, I hope they eventually realize what they did and change their ways." After cleaning up the mess, the congregation will focus on Yom Kippur, with its prayers and 25-hour fast. "We can't allow this to stop us from standing before God on this holiest day of the year," Kornfeld said.
The Seattle Times

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SKINHEADS CHARGED WITH HATE CRIMES IN ST. PETERSBURG (Russia)

17/9/2010- St. Petersburg officials have charged 25 young men belonging to an alleged skinhead group with hate crimes and attacks on people that resulted in two deaths, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports. The skinhead group, which is allegedly led by Andrei Linok, was charged with 12 attacks on non-Slavic people. Investigators said Linok -- who is among the 25 detainees -- created the group via the Internet in 2007. The group members are all Russian men between 17 and 23 years of age. Yevgeny Vyshenkov, the deputy chairman of the Russian-based Investigative Journalism Agency, told RFE/RL that citizens of Uzbekistan, Armenia, and also Russian citizens from the republics of Tuva and Karelia were among the group's victims. The group -- which conducted its attacks in the summer and fall of 2007 -- is also alleged to have attacked Asians and Africans. Many of the attacks were filmed by the group. Many of the attack videos were used by police to aid in the arrest of the suspects in November 2007. Vyshenkov said that neo-Nazis and skinheads in Russia recently stopped openly displaying symbols or wearing clothes that indicate their ties to extremist groups. "They are not wearing such signs as the swastika, leather jackets, or [certain] hats anymore," he said. "They now wear normal civilian clothes and it has become difficult to prevent their attacks and locate them [afterwards]." Investigators say Linok was recruiting people for his group to propagate ultranational and racist ideology. The trial is expected to begin soon, though no date was available.
RFE/RL

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LEFT LEADER CONDEMNS ATTACK ON FAR-RIGHT (Sweden)

Left Party leader Lars Ohly has condemned an attack on a local politician representing the far-right Sweden Democrats in Malmö on Friday, while the party on Monday suspended a rally in Gothenburg due to a counter-demonstration.

13/9/2010- According to Malmö police two masked men forced their way into David von Arnold Antoni's apartment in Malmö on Friday night. "They cut a swastika in my forehead," Antoni said according to the local Sydsvenskan daily. Malmö police have confirmed only that the local Sweden Democrat politician was held down by one man while the other cut him. "We have decided to put a lid on the investigation," said Lars-Håkan Lindholm at Malmö police to news agency TT, confirming that the incident has been classified as aggravated assault, aggravated theft and illegal threats. Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson published an open letter on Monday, calling on national party leaders to condemn the attack and the Left Party's Lars Ohly duly obliged on Monday afternoon. "I can't describe the repulsion I feel for this. I oppose the Sweden Democrats' politics by all the democratic means I have at my disposal, but there is a clear line. Threats and violence must never occur and that is something that we in the Left Party are very clear on," he said. Elsewhere on Monday, the Sweden Democrats were obliged to postpone a rally on Kungsportsplatsen in Gothenburg when they were outnumbered by a crowd of counter-demonstrators. While the stand-off between police and counter-demonstrators from the Gothenburg network against racism passed off peacefully, the Sweden Democrats were forced to acquiesce. "We are doing this to show that there is resistance to their racism," Stefan Berg of the Socialist Justice Party (Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna - RS), told local daily Göteborgs-Posten. While there has been no analysis made of any incidents of harassment and violence during the 2010 election campaign, a study conducted after the EU parliamentary elections in 2009 showed that autonomous left groups such as the Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) or the Revolutionary Front stood behind the majority of any violence.
The Local - Sweden

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MAN HELD OVER REYKJAVIK RACE ATTACKS (Iceland)

13/9/2010- One of the two people arrested yesterday over racist abuse that caused a father and son of Cuban origin to flee their home in Iceland, has been remand in custody until Friday by a Reykjavik court. The younger man, a teenager, was released by police; but the older man is in his 30s and is said to be well-known to police for violent acts in the past.
Ice News

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SWASTIKAS PAINTED ON MOLDOVA SYNAGOGUE

Kishinev Jews stunned by anti-Semitic display; community demands more security for Yom Kippur

15/9/2010- Worshippers who arrived at the Great Synagogue in Kishinev Tuesday were stunned to discover swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs spray-painted on its walls. "This is an especially disturbing incident, as Moldova is not known as an anti-Semitic country," local Chief Rabbi Zalman Abelsky told Ynet. The incident stirred great interest in the local media, with numerous public figures expressing their shock over the anti-Semitic display. Israel's consul general in Moldova, Stav Nezhinsky, and other Jewish community leaders arrived at the synagogue Tuesday and agreed to invest the utmost effort to eliminate such incidents. "We wish to eliminate this phenomenon, which is the work of marginal organizations that refer to themselves as 'neo-Nazis," Rabby Abelsky said. He added that in his 20 years in Moldova he had not seen "a humiliating act like the one at the entrance to the synagogue." Meanwhile, one of the local Jewish community leaders, Simcha Weinberg, asked top police and government officials to act immediately in order to eliminate anti-Semitism. He urged authorities to undertake immense efforts in order to capture the perpetrators of the act and boost security at the Great Synagogue and other Jewish institutions ahead of the upcoming Yom Kippur prayers. This isn't the first time anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in Moldova. In Hanukkah last year, dozens of protestors led by an Orthodox minister used hammers and metal rods to shatter a Menorah placed in Kishinev over the holiday. The demonstrators chanted anti-Semitic slurs and said they "will not allow the Jews to rule Moldova," removing the Menorah and posting a cross in its place.
Ynet News

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KYRGYZSTAN SYNAGOGUE ATTACKED ON ROSH HASHANAH

12/9/2010 - Unidentified attackers attempted to fire bomb the only synagogue in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan last week. The congregation, headed by Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Aryeh Reichman, is the only one in the entire country, in fact. No one was injured in the explosion, although the building was reportedly damaged, and the grounds outside were littered with bolts and nails from the makeshift bomb that was lobbed over the fence at the synagogue. Although a source in the Jewish community told the AFP news agency the attack occurred an hour before Rosh HaShanah services were scheduled to begin, Examiner.com reported the bombing took place while worshipers were actually praying inside the building. Kyrgyzstan, once a member of the Soviet Union, is currently home to some 2,000 Jews, most of who live in Bishkek.

The synagogue has been targeted before: in April, the same synagogue was fire bombed while rebels overthrew the government in a bloody uprising that left more than 80 people dead. The local Jewish school decided at the time to temporarily close its doors as a precaution. Media reports have said the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, linked with the international al-Qaeda terrorist organization, is active in the Muslim-majority nation. This year, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan ended with the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, the day before Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by China to the south, and hosts both Russian and American military bases. The base closest to Bishkek – Manas – is allegedly considered crucial in supplying U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Arutz Sheva

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Headlines 10 September, 2010

NUMBER OF EXTREMIST ACTS RISES IN 2009 (Czech Rep.)

8/9/2010- The police registered 265 crimes with an extremist motive in the 10.5 million Czech Republic last year, which was 0.07 percent of all crimes and 48 more than in 2008, according to a document the Chamber of Deputies defence and security committee discussed yesterday. The police cleared up 186 crimes last year, or 60 more than in 2008. A total of 293 people were prosecuted, which was about 100 more than in 2008, and courts convicted 103 people of racially motivated crimes. Deputy Interior Minister Zdenek Salivar said "the extremist scene is on the defensive" now. He said that is why rightist extremists have moderated their rhetoric. The militant wing is now trying to change the neo-Nazi label and focuses on environmental themes. Salivar said the abolition of the Workers' Party (DS) last year was a step of European importance. The party, however, practically continues its acitivities under a new name, the Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS). The number of neo-Nazi concerts roughly halved to 18 last year, and only one sole was held after last June's raid on rightist extremists, the report says. The concerts have been moved abroad, mainly to Poland and Slovakia, Police President Oldrich Martinu said. He said the concerts were a significant source of money for the extremist groups. The police inspection also checked six cases on suspicion of police involvement in criminal activity with an extremist subtext last year. The suspicion was not proved in three of them, another two continue to be checked and one case ended in a disciplinary punishment. A total of 24 police members were involved in the cases, the report said. It said the military police investigated ten cases, involving 12 soldiers. Salivar said everyone who seeks a job with security corps is checked for extremism now.
The Prague Daily Monitor

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AUGUST 2010. MONTHLY SUMMARY HATE CRIMES BY SOVA CENTER (Russia)

6/9/2010- In August 2010, at least 32 people were injured in racist and neo-Nazi attacks (in August 2009, 9 people were dead and 48 injured). In all, from the beginning of 2010, 22 people in Russia were dead and at least 203 injured in such attacks. In August, incidents of violence were recorded in Moscow region (13 injured), Saint Petersburg (7 injured), Orel (5 injured in ‘Indira’ cafe bombing of which a neo-Nazi terrorist group is suspected), in Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, and Samara (2 injured in each), and in Irkutsk (one injured). In all, from the beginning of the year incidents of violence have been recorded in 34 of Russian regions. Still, Moscow and the region (9 dead, 73 injured), St. Petersburg (1 dead, 33 injured) and Leningrad region, and Nizhny Novgorod (2 dead, 14 injured) face the highest level of violence. The number of victims in other regions is no more than seven. We would remind you that this statistics does not include victims of mass fights or incidents happened in the regions of the Northern Caucasus.

In August, xenophobic vandalism became active again. During the last summer month we recorded at least 4 attacks at religious targets (mosques were attacked in Orenburg and Samara regions, an orthodox chapel was burnt in St. Petersburg as well as a Baptist house of worship in Kurgan region) and at least 4 acts of so-called ‘ideological vandalism’ (that is defiling memorials with xenophobic slogans, organizing graffiti actions or making separate but provocative graffiti as in Sochi where such images appeared right at the local prosecutor’s office). In all, from the beginning of the year we have recorded at least 71 neo-Nazi and xenophobic vandal attacks of which 41 can be rated as ‘ideological vandalism’ and the other were aimed at religious targets (10 of them, including 2 arsons, were against Jehovah Witnesses’ objects, 6, including a bombing, hit Muslim objects, 5, including a bombing, were against Jewish objects, 4, including 2 arsons, against orthodox ones, 3, including 2 arsons, against protestant ones, one was aimed at an Armenian cemetery and one more at a neo-heathen temple).

In addition, from the beginning of the year, at least 13 acts ofso-called ‘anti-state terror’ were made, that is to say, arson or bombing attempts at police stations, prosecutor’s offices and other state objects. Most of such incidents (at least 4) took place in Orel. A group of people suspected of those crimes was detected there in August, 2010. It is worth noting that several days before the detection, a ‘letter of Orel partisans’ appeared in the Web. It was written by a group of people who claimed responsibility for a large amount of crimes but there was no prove that the majority of them had really taken place. In August 2010, at least 12 guilty verdicts (in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow region (2 in each), in the Republic of Tatarstan, in Bryansk, Vladimir, Kaluga, Penza, and Tver regions, Krasnodar and Khabarovsk Territories (one in each)) were issued for racist hate crimes. Still, courts tend to pass suspended sentences against neo-Nazi in Nizhny Novgorod. At least 2 of the 5 people convicted there in August (we don’t have information on one of the sentences) received suspended sentences. We should note that one of the convicts, an ex-activist of Balakhna department of the Russian National Unity (RNE), was given a suspended sentence for 3 racist group attacks.

In all, from the beginning of the year, 62 guilty verdicts have been issued for racist violence. 214 people were convicted, 73 of them received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions. There is practically no change in the field of persecution for xenophobic propaganda. It has not become more active; we have information on 4 guilty verdicts issued in August 2010 (in Komi Republic, in Vladimir, Pskov, and Ulyanovsk regions). Still, graffitists and users putting sporadic xenophobic materials in the Web are on the line, not those who practise hate propaganda systematically. A sentence passed in Ulyanovsk against a Caucasian separatists’ supporter who had placed a series of extremely aggressive articles on the Web seems to be an exception. In this case, we can say at least that a propagandist was punished though the extent of his influence on the audience is not evident.

In August 2010, the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office addressed the Moscow City Court in order to ban Yury Mukhin’s People’s Will Army (Armiya voli naroda, AVN) as extremist. AVN is a public association without strict internal structure and organized activity. Its main goal is ‘to hold a referendum on a law providing people’s trial over elected power bodies.’ Although the association’s ideology undoubtedly contains some xenophobic elements, they are not its meaningful components, and the group itself is unlikely to pose any social danger. However, it has been under pressure of law enforcement services for several years. Unfortunately, we are unaware of the grounds on which the prosecutor’s office demands to ban AVN. So far, we are unable to estimate the appropriateness of its actions. Yury Mukhin, on the other hand, succeeded in cancelling the court ruling that ordered to close his newspaper ‘K barieru!’ as extremist (it replaced the Duel newspaper that had also been closed as extremist). On August 19, 2010, the Moscow City Court cancelled the ruling of the court of original jurisdiction and sent the case back for a new trial.

On August 18, 2010, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated, items from 692 to 692 were added.

Thus, on August 31, 2010, the list consists of 694 items, 4 of which are officially withdrawn, at least 32 materials are put there on inappropriate grounds because the court rulings blacklisting them as extremist were cancelled (most of them, 28 items, are the works by Ron Hubbard) and at least 47 materials are included in it twice.
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis

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WROUGHTON SCHOOL 'FAILED TO SPOT RACISM' BEFORE ATTACK (uk)

A school where a boy was attacked with a hammer failed to recognise a series of racist incidents prior to the assault, a serious case review has found.

8/9/2010- Henry Webster, then 15, suffered three skull fractures in the attack by a group of Asian youths in 2007. His mother Liz Webster said the review showed the school was at fault. Mr Webster, now 18, was punched, kicked and hit with a claw hammer at Ridgeway School, in Wroughton, near Swindon. Mrs Webster said: "This review has confirmed our belief that the Ridgeway School was responsible for the horrific, devastating assault on our son which has left him with permanent injuries.
"The criticism of the local authority is tantamount to a whitewash as it is so minimal and limited."

'Racist behaviour'
Before the attack, Mr Webster had agreed to fight a boy "one on one" due to peer pressure and to stop harassment he thought he and his friends were experiencing. He has returned to part-time education, but still suffers from short-term memory loss. The report summary, published by the Swindon Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The school, although it knew in advance, did not prepare for the arrival of a significant number of British Asian students in 2005."  The review, which made 32 recommendations for action, also found there were some incidents between white and British Asian pupils which were not recognised as racist by the school. The summary said there was some success in addressing the racist behaviour of some white pupils, but the approach was not extended throughout the school. It said: "The school, by trying to deal with these incidents themselves, missed the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what was actually going on through external intervention. "Other agencies did not challenge robustly the school's approach or its procedures." Mrs Webster claimed the school's race relations policy "was not worth the paper it was written on". She said: "There was no cohesive approach to dealing with matters of race.

'Dreadful attack'
"Whilst Henry has been the primary victim, we are and always have been of the firm belief that this school also let down the young Asian pupils who were eventually prosecuted for this attack. "They have been criminalised and demonised - had their integration been properly handled we are certain this attack would not have happened." Thirteen people, including teenagers, were convicted over the assault on the tennis courts at the school in 2008 and given custodial sentences. Mr Webster's family launched civil proceedings against the school, which affected the completion of the serious case review. They lost a battle for compensation at the High Court in February. Ofsted has rated the school as outstanding since the attack. A spokesman from Ridgeway School, in Wroughton, said: "We could not have foreseen or prevented the dreadful attack on Henry Webster. "We are sorry that the family feel that they were not supported adequately following the attack. He said the school had noted the report's recommendations and looked to improve its practice.
BBC News

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ARRESTS MADE IN VANDALISM AT UPSTATE NY MOSQUE (usa)

10/9/2010- Authorities say they've charged three young men with committing a hate crime for spray painting a racial slur on a wall at a Hudson Valley mosque. Police in the city of Hudson say Christopher Osborn and Roy Francis, both 20, and 19-year-old James Glover III, were arrested Thursday. The men, all from Hudson, were charged with aggravated harassment, conspiracy, making graffiti, and criminal mischief, which is the hate crime aspect of the charges. Authorities say the men painted the racial slur on the back wall of the Hudson Islamic Center just after midnight Wednesday. Osborn and Glover have pleaded not guilty and were sent to the Columbia County Jail. Francis was being held in jail pending his arraignment Friday afternoon. It couldn't immediately be determined if they had lawyers.
The Associated Press

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ALASKA YOUTUBE HATE CRIME SENTENCING (usa)

Two Anchorage residents have been sentenced for the harassment and threatening of an Alaska Native man on the streets of Anchorage in July of 2008.

9/9/2010- In July 2008, two Anchorage residents harassed and threatened an Alaska Native man on the streets of Anchorage. They even went so far as to post the self-incriminating evidence on YouTube where the two admitted the attack was racially motivated. Thursday, Robert Bruce Gum and Deanna Angelina Scaglione, also known as Deanna Powers, were sentenced to 20 months and 16 months in prison, respectively. Scaglione and Gum verbally and physically threatened the Alaska Native man as they followed the Alaska Native man by vehicle and on foot. Together they threw eggs at him, threatened injury with a baseball bat and a gun and spewed racially charged remarks. U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess called the nature of Gum and Scaglione's crime as "disturbing." Judge Burgess said their conduct was "offensive to the fundamental principles of our country" and was motivated by hate. According to the Department of Justice, the Anchorage Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the conviction in this case.
KTVA

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FEDERAL JUDGE IN BAY CITY DISMISSES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING HATE CRIMES ACT (usa)

7/9/2010- A federal judge in Bay City has dismissed a lawsuit in which a Midland man and three Michigan ministers challenged the constitutionality of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act enacted in October. The suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was filed in February by Gary Glenn, a Midland resident and president of the American Family Association of Michigan; Levon Yuille, pastor of The Bible Church in Ypsilanti, director of the National Black Pro-Life Congress and host of the radio talk show “Joshua’s Trail”; Rene Ouellette, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bridgeport; and James Combs, pastor of Faith, The Point, The Rock and The River churches. Today, U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington dismissed the action in which the plaintiffs claimed the Hate Crimes Act violated their 1st Amendment rights to free speech. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued the act impinged on their right to speak out against homosexual behavior “and the political agenda that promotes it.” The Hate Crimes Act provides federal criminal penalties in cases of violence perpetrated against people because of their religion, race or sexual orientation. In a 43-page motion to dismiss, Holder called Glenn’s arguments hypothetical. Citing 68 cases, he said Glenn and the ministers had no right to file a civil suit based on “conjectural” or hypothetical injuries or infringements. “Plaintiffs do not allege that they have been prosecuted under the Act, that they have been threatened with such prosecution or that they intend to engage in any conduct prohibited by the Act,” Holder argued. “The Act does not proscribe speech. It prohibits only violent conduct and includes specific provisions ensuring that it may not be applied to infringe any rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” Ludington agreed. “... it is entirely speculative that Plaintiff’s conduct would be prosecuted under the Act,” Ludington wrote. Case law requires that a plaintiff’s claim must be more than a “generalized grievance,” the judge noted. The plaintiffs could not be reached for comment.
M live

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Headlines 3 September, 2010

VANDALS TARGET HAPPY VALLEY FAMILY WITH RACIST GRAFFITI, THREATEN TO BURN DOWN THEIR HOUSE (usa)

3/9/2010- Neighbors expressed bewilderment as much as shock Thursday after a Vietnamese American family suffered racial harassment and threats as they began moving into their new home. Jami Onchi, 32, who lives down the street, said ethnic diversity was one reason she and her husband moved to the neighborhood. "My husband is Japanese, and we have half-Japanese children," Onchi said. "I can only say this is extremely strange." On Monday, vandals spray-painted racial slurs on Sang Huynh and his family's new home and left a note threatening to burn it down. The FBI and Clackamas County authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime. "It's just terrible because we just moved here, and it's my dream area," said Phong Tran, Sang Huynh's wife. "How were we supposed to know this would happen?" Tran said she suspects the vandals who defaced her home live close by, but the family has no clue who they could be. "We don't have any enemies here," said daughter Lisa Huynh, 14, who will be a freshman at Clackamas High School. "If they were mature, they'd talk to us in person." Mayor Rob Wheeler called the incident totally unacceptable and disturbing, "especially in a city where nearly 9 percent of residents are of Asian descent." "It is such an uncharacteristic act to have happened in our city," Wheeler said. "We have families from many ethnic backgrounds who have lived peacefully in Happy Valley for years without problems. This is clearly the work of a disturbed individual or misguided vandals."

On Monday afternoon, Huynh, his wife and their children discovered that someone spray-painted racial slurs on the exterior of their new home on Southeast Catina Place, a quiet residential street with mostly two-story homes. The family also found a book of matches next to a clear plastic bottle filled with what police think is gasoline. The accompanying handwritten note said, "Last warning. We will burn your house down if we have to."  Other notes said, "LEAVE" and "Welcome to the neighborhood. The family immediately contacted police. Under state law, the graffiti and threats appear to be Class A misdemeanor hate crimes, because they were motivated by race. Class A misdemeanors usually are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $6,250 fine. However, if two or more people committed the crimes together, they would become a Class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. If prosecuted in U.S. District Court as civil rights violations, federal sentencing guidelines allow judges to impose enhanced sentences that could mean as long as an additional two years in prison. The U.S. Department of Justice also could file civil lawsuits alleging civil rights violations. Happy Valley officials said residents have been calling and e-mailing the city to express sympathy for the family.  Detective Jim Strovink, the Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman, urged anyone with information about the incident to call the sheriff's confidential tip line.  Huynh, a machinist at Boeing of Portland, and his wife, Tran, who owns a Southeast Portland convenience store, both were born in Vietnam. They became naturalized U.S. citizens about 10 years ago. Their four children were born in the United States. "They obviously were trying to scare us," said son Brian Huynh, who will be an eighth-grader at North Clackamas Middle School. "But we're just trying to stay positive."
Oregon Live

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POLAND: ANTI-ROMA MOB ATTACK LEGITIMISED

In July 2010, an angry crowd launched a terrifying attack on a Roma family in Limanowa, southern Poland. But why were no arrests made? And how come no one has condemned the violence?

2/9/2010- In October 1990, a crowd set fire to thirty-six Roma homes in the Romanian town of Mihail Kogalniceanu. No one was arrested and the town's mayor, Mr Ionesco, stated that 'I would like to emphasise that this was not directed against the Gypsies. We have no problems with their race. We only have problems with the criminals.' Similarly, when twenty-two Roma homes were set on fire in Bolintin Deal, also in south-east Romania, a spokesperson for the mayor's office announced that the houses had been set on fire simply to 'chase away criminals' as no one had problems with the 400 'assimilated Roma' living in the town.[1]

There are troubling similarities between the 'punitive' pogroms which took place in Romania in the 1990s and recent events in Limanowa, a small town in southern Poland. On the night of 23/24 July 2010, an angry crowd armed with stones and, according to some accounts, petrol bombs gathered outside the appartment of a Roma family and attempted to drag out the Daga (Donga) family.[2] The attack on the family was only prevented by the swift actions of the police. Estimates vary as to how many town residents were involved. Some media reports indicate forty, others one hundred. Riot police had to be brought in from Cracow to disperse the crowd.

In the days that followed, it became apparent that the police did not intend to bring any prosecutions against any of the residents involved. A popular local information website has been at pains to describe the Daga family as a danger to the community.[3] And, following from this, media reports have featured a strong sub-text that suggests that a potentially fatal attack on a Roma family does not constitute a crime in Poland. Not one person was arrested, although some thirty people were asked to produce their identity papers and later questioned. On the other hand, the authorities considered taking repressive measures against the Daga family whose past behaviour was variously described, by both journalists and spokespersons for the local authority, as pathologically inclined. The mob violence, on the other hand, was portrayed as an understandable and justifiable event, engendered by the despair of the locals, terrorised by their neighbours whose delinquency drove them to extremities. A journalist from the regional newspaper Gazeta Krakowska summed up the popular consensus by describing the attack as an 'act of despair'.[4]

The local authority, amidst threats from local residents of further violence,[5] have decided that the only way to prevent further attempts at mob justice is to evict the family from their accommodation and resettle them in a 'container'[6] on 'some solitary spot'. The express intention is to prevent the Dagas from having any neighbours.[7] According to a number of reports, the local authorities may well abandon this plan in the face of criticism from the Daga family and Roman Kwiatkowski, President of the Society of Roma in Poland (Stowarzyszenie Romów w Polsce).[8] But should one believe these reports? It seems that it is only technical problems that have temporarily halted the mayor's attempts to evict the family with the aid of a private security company. First, the container which a company had offered to sell to the authorities does not conform to state regulations and secondly, it is difficult to find a place for the container, mainly because 'no one wants to have the Dagas for neighbours'.

Establishing narratives that legitimise vigilantism
How did it come about that the criminal actions of town residents came to be rewarded by the punishment of the victims who are to be evicted from their home and socially quarantined from their neighbours? In order to understand this, it is necessary to unpick the various explanations put forward by the local community via the media. It is clear that the family had in the past been involved in a number of disputes with their neighbours, during some of which threats and violence had been used. Town residents made a series of allegations against the family to news reporters which taken together combined to make a convincing narrative of a family prone to social delinquency and unacceptable behaviour. However, a closer reading of the community's complaints reveal a number of narratives, some of which conflict and others of which could have been open to other readings by journalists if they had been prepared to take as their starting point the simple fact that nothing, absolutely nothing could ever justify what could almost be described as an attempted lynching.[9] It seems that the media were totally blind to the fact that a crowd of locals wishing to settle accounts with a family by physically attacking them proved a much greater danger to the latter than the family itself to the local community.

One of the first stories to emerge was the claim that a member of the family had insulted a pregnant woman who was frightened of the family's dog and that the dog 'jumped' on the woman. (Some reports go further and suggest that the dog was deliberately set on the woman). But an article published on the local website www.limanowa.in (26 July) suggested that the incident which seemingly so outraged the local community, had not been reported to the police. In fact the internet story clearly indicates that on 26 July the Limanowa district governor asked the woman to lodge a criminal complaint against the family. Other press stories also disintegrate under scrutiny. A local resident is quoted that he witnessed one family member insulting a policeman with a 'shower of vulgar abuse'. But the policeman only 'patted him on the shoulder and asked him to go home'. 'I can't understand why police officers tolerate these humiliations,' the local resident said. But is it really credible that Polish police officers would put up with such 'humiliations' and that in the face of police passivity only the town residents could stand up for the routinely degraded guardians of the law?

Another media narrative is also shot through with inconsistencies. The claim was frequently made in the media that other Roma condemned the Daga family and this claim was then used to support the argument that the attack was not racially motivated, as, in the words of Limanowa mayor, Marek Czeczótka, 'Limanowa has no problems with Roma' because, unlike the 'overly demanding' and 'combative' Daga family, 'many of them behave as they should'.[10] To prove this argument the statement of one Roma resident, Dorota Wieczorek, who says that the Dagas had threatened to kill her family, is cited.[11] However, if the Daga family were ostracised by the entire local Roma community, why did one witness to the violence remark that 'the Romas are likely to drive to Koszary[12] in order to bring reinforcements'[13] and other witnesses express the fear that 'Roma yobs' may arrive in order to defend the family?[14] It is impossible to know whether the reported Roma consensus against the Daga family is true or whether it has simply emerged as a convenient fiction vital to the town residents' self-righteous narrative. One story that cannot be contested is the fact that Roman Guzik had in the past been attacked by members of the Daga family with a rubbish-bin and an axe.[15] It cannot be contested because, as Mr Guzik readily admits, the family members who committed this attack were subsequently prosecuted. Yet this does actually contradict another of the town residents' narratives - the one that dwelled on the police's passivity and the failure of the criminal justice system to render justice against the family's past alleged wrongdoings.

Sidelining anti-Roma sentiment
Would the justification of mob violence against a family be imaginable if such accusations were made against a non-Roma family? Almost all those who have publicly addressed the events in Limanowa, have spoken very indulgently about the local community where the attack was launched and very severely against the Daga family. Father Stanislaw Opocki, responsible for the pastoral care of the Polish Roma, appears to argue that the only successful outcome to the vigilante actions would be a successful prosecution against the family. 'I feel for the inhabitants whose peace is being disturbed,' he remarked, adding that 'The prosecuting organs should deal with this case. Even poverty does not justify troublemaking and sowing dissension.'[16] Elzbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz, a Roma and the Malopolska province governor's Plenipotentiary for National and Ethnic Minorities, attempts to be even-handed, stating that 'probably both sides of this conflict are to blame,' but adding that it may be true to say that the family is 'in some sense [...] pathological'[17] But Ms Mirga-Wójtowicz goes further than most in her attempt to contextualise the family's alleged past behaviour within the facts of their extremely difficult living conditions. She points out that the twelve members of the family live in a flat of just 36 square metres. It should be emphasised that social workers who had visited the family had expressed the opinion that their biggest problem was their inadequate living conditions.[18]

Even when it comes to the reporting of the mob attack, one gets the impression that no one dares to express any compassion for the Dagas. A journalist from the private TV station TVN 24 devotes much attention to the fact that a burning bottle was allegedly thrown out of a window by a member of the family when the crowd had gathered under its apartment building.[19] The TVN 24 report gives the impression that the actions of the crowd were harmless in comparison with the act of a 'besieged' family in throwing a burning bottle.

Establishing the racist context
With very few exceptions,[20] those who have publicly commented on the events at Limanova have argued that the attack has no ethnic or racial background. But is it really possible that such a chain of events would have happened if the Dagas had not been Roma? Are such collective 'punitive actions'[21] undertaken against non-Roma 'pathological' families? In the 1990s, Romanians also rejected out of hand the idea that anti-Roma pogroms were ethnically or racially motivated. When one reads Polish media reports on the events in Limanowa, one is left with the impression that, because the attacked family is seen as prone to delinquency, anti- Roma sentiment is automatically ruled out as a motive for the mob violence. Commentators do not remember, or do not want to remember, that in the past, racist lynchings, like the ones in the US South, or indeed the pogroms in Romania, were often carried out against those members of minority communities who were viewed as 'causing problems' or engaged in criminal behaviour. In the US South, victims were accused of having committed inadmissible violations against the white community. The fact that a lynching or other mob violence was meant as 'punishment' for (real or imagined) violations of social norms does not make it any less racist.

The events in Limanowa should be interpreted in the light of the knowledge about the very frequent and deeply ingrained hostility towards the Roma in Polish society. According to the results of a recent opinion poll conducted by the Polish Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS), 47 per cent of Poles said that they dislike the Roma.[22] Negative stereotypes against Roma are also strong, as demonstrated by an earlier CBOS opinion poll. Some 42 per cent of Poles held the view that the Roma possessed inherent criminal tendencies and 75 per cent agreed with the statement 'the problems of the Roma would disappear if they began to work'.[23] In the light of such data, the popular consensus that the attack in Limanowa had no ethnic motive needs to be revisited. Let us ask once again: why do such incidents never happen to non-Roma families in Poland?

Footnotes:

[1] Donald L.Horowitz, in The Deadly Ethnic Riot (University of California Press, 2003) argues that in those Romanian villages where anti-Roma violence took place in the years 1990-1997, it was frequently the case that only the homes of those considered 'troublemakers' were set on fire. See also István Haller, 'Lynching is not a crime: mob violence against Roma in post-Ceausescu Romania', 7 July 2004.


[2] The media gives two versions of the family name, both pronounced in the same way. Daga is probably the correct version.


[3] See www.limanowa.in, in particular, 'Tylko eksmisja moze zapobiec tragedii', 26 July 2010.


[4] Bozena Wojtas, 'Limanowa: konfliktowi Romowie zostana przesiedleni', Gazeta Krakowska, 26 July 2010.


[5] 'Po próbie samosadu przenosza romska rodzine', 27 July 2010.


[6] So-called containers (kontenery socjalne) are widely used as low-standard social housing in Poland.


[7] 'A few locations are being considered. No particulars were disclosed. All the local authorities agree, however, that it must be a solitary spot', 'Eksmisja przesadzona, czas rozliczyc postawe policji!', 27 July 2010.


[8] 'Limanowa: Romowie nie chca kontenera', 30 July 2010.


[9] According to the entry by Alexander W Pisciotta, in the Encyclopaedia of Race and Crime (eds Helen Taylor Greene and Shaun L Gabiddon, Sage, 2009), lynching 'involves mob violence that is done under the guise of vigilante justice ... lynch mobs did not always kill their victims'.


[10] 'Tylko eksmisja moze zapobiec tragedii', 26 July 2010.


[11] B. Wojtas, P. Odorczuk, 'Limanowa: spór grozil linczem. Udalo sie znalezc kompromis', 27 July 2010.


[12] Koszary is a small village in the Limanowa district, with a significant number of Roma among its inhabitants.


[13] 'Konflikt sie odrodzil: zamieszki na ulicy Witosa w Limanowej', 23 July 2010.


[14] 'Eksmisja przesadzona, czas rozliczyc postawe policji!', 27 July 2010.


[15] The video accompanying the article Po próbie samosadu przenosza romska rodzine', 27 July 2010.


[16] 'Chuliganstwa i warcholstwa nic nie usprawiedliwia', 26 July 2010.


[17] 'W Limanowej to nie jest konflikt etniczny', an interview with Elzbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz, Gazeta Wyborcza Kraków, 26 July 2010.


[18] See B. Wojtas, P. Odorczuk, 'Limanowa: spór grozil linczem. Udalo sie znalezc kompromis', 27 July 2010.


[19] The video accompanying the article, 'Po próbie samosadu przenosza romska rodzine', 27 July 2010.


[20] The Society of Roma in Poland, as well as another well-known Polish NGO, Open Republic - Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, are among the exceptions. See the Declaration of the Council of Management of the Society of Roma in Poland on the conflict in Limanowa, 26 July 2010. The Open Republic Association has republished on its website a newspaper article about the violence and stated that the events in Limanowa 'caused it anxiety' and that 'in such circumstances it is easy to awake sleeping spectres and to provoke the hatred and aggression of the crowd', 3 August 2010.


[21] The words 'punitive action' come from the article 'Tylko eksmisja moze zapobiec tragedii', 26 July 2010.


[22] Stosunek Polaków do innych narodów, (pdf file 372kb), January 2010.


[23] Postawy wobec Romów w Polsce, Czechach, na Wegrzech i Slowacji, (pdf file 140kb), June 2008.

The Institute of Race Relations
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GYPSIES AFRAID OVER VIOLENT 'GANG ATTACKS' (uk)

Reports of violent gang attacks are spreading fear in some of Britain's traveller communities.

3/9/2010- They include claims of groups of around 20 Polish and Irish men, all armed, attacking travellers, as well as stories of children being abducted and held hostage in return for money and jewellery. While filming a group of Roma gypsies for a documentary, BBC Two's Revealed Extra I had rare access to young people living in the communities. I witnessed panic after hearing terrifying accounts of attacks on travellers and gypsies. Megan, a Roma gypsy from near Cambridge, said she knew some of the alleged victims. "The stories have been passed around. We've heard about it, and some relations we know, it's happened to them. It's really bad." Megan and her family have now moved from the site they've lived on for the last two years because of the fear of being attacked. She explained: "Apparently there are a couple of gangs going round targeting traveller families and taking all their possessions. "I've never known it to happen in my lifetime, it's very shocking." Another traveller, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she'd heard of two separate cases of children being sexually assaulted - one of them supposedly in Luton.

Facebook 'warnings'
The community has been informing each other about the attacks through social networking sites. The creator of a Facebook group set up to warn travellers said she knew a family who were badly beaten after handing over money and jewellery. "I know for a fact it was done just over four weeks ago," she wrote. "The robbers even made their 14-year-old grandson watch as they beat his grandparents." Pea, 19, lives on a site near Bedford. He questions just how much of what he's heard is true, but says he does believe the attacks are happening. "I've heard there are a lot of bad people going around taking things they shouldn't, doing things they shouldn't." The police are warning travellers to be vigilant, but say so far they've received no evidence to support any of the claims, and nobody has come forward to report any crimes. The Gypsy Council said it was aware of the rumours, but hadn't heard of anything first-hand. It wants travellers who have been attacked to come forward. However, Pea told Revealed Extra that contacting the authorities wasn't the done thing in their communities. "It's going to be over pretty soon," he said. "They're going to walk into the wrong camp. I think they're going to sort it out their own way... whatever that is I don't know."
BBC News

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SLOVAKIA STUNNED BY RAMPAGING GUNMAN

30/8/2010- A man armed with a submachine gun and two handguns killed six members of a Roma family in their apartment house in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, on Monday, and then, firing wildly as he tried to evade the police surrounding the building, killed another person and wounded 15 more before fatally shooting himself, police and government officials said. Among the wounded was a police officer who was shot in the head. The killings shook the country and resonated with Europe’s growing xenophobia against Roma, or Gypsies. While the police in Bratislava said that the gunman’s identity and motives were still being investigated, relatives and neighbors of the victims said the killer lived in the same apartment building, often railed against the Roma, and had accused the family of dealing drugs and otherwise disturbing the peace. In a video interview with the victims’ family members posted on the Web site of SME, a leading Slovak daily, one young Roma woman, identifying herself as a granddaughter of one of those killed, said she believed the crime had been fueled by racism. “He’d always been very hostile to colored people and hated us,” she said. “He picked on us all the time.” SME ran a photo of the killer taken by a witness from a balcony, showing a gray-haired man wearing a denim jacket and ear muffs and carrying an assault weapon. The Slovak news media identified him a former soldier.

In France, French police in recent weeks have been dismantling Roma camps and deporting Roma living illegally in France to Bulgaria and Romania, prompting accusations of ethnic discrimination. Clashes with Roma have also been intensifying in other countries in Eastern Europe and in Italy. In Hungary, at least seven Roma have been killed in the last two and a half years, and Roma leaders have counted about 30 firebomb attacks. In Slovakia, a small, predominantly Catholic country where about 380,000 Roma eke out an existence on the fringes of society, anti-Roma demonstrations have been held repeatedly since late last summer, when two Roma badly injured a man in a robbery in the east.
The New York Times

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TEN-POINT PLAN FOR COMBATING HATE CRIME

Human Rights First calls on all governments to implement the following Ten-Point Plan for combating violent hate crimes:

1. Acknowledge and condemn violent hate crimes whenever they occur. Senior government leaders should send immediate, strong, public, and consistent messages that violent crimes which appear to be motivated by prejudice and intolerance will be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

2. Enact laws that expressly address hate crimes. Recognizing the particular harm caused by violent hate crimes, governments should enact laws that establish specific offenses or provide enhanced penalties for violent crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental and physical disabilities, or other similar status.

3. Strengthen enforcement and prosecute offenders. Governments should ensure that those responsible for hate crimes are held accountable under the law, that the enforcement of hate crime laws is a priority for the criminal justice system, and that the record of their enforcement is well documented and publicized.

4. Provide adequate instructions and resources to law enforcement bodies. Governments should ensure that police and investigators-as the first responders in cases of violent crime-are specifically instructed and have the necessary procedures, resources and training to identify, investigate and register bias motives before the courts, and that prosecutors have been trained to bring evidence of bias motivations and apply the legal measures required to prosecute hate crimes.

5. Undertake parliamentary, inter-agency or other special inquiries into the problem of hate crimes. Such public, official inquiries should encourage public debate, investigate ways to better respond to hate crimes, and seek creative ways to address the roots of intolerance and discrimination through education and other means.

6. Monitor and report on hate crimes. Governments should maintain official systems of monitoring and public reporting to provide accurate data for informed policy decisions to combat violent hate crimes. Such systems should include anonymous and disaggregated information on bias motivations and/or victim groups, and should monitor incidents and offenses, as well as prosecutions. Governments should consider establishing third party complaint procedures to encourage greater reporting of hate crimes and conducting periodic hate crime victimization surveys to monitor underreporting by victims and underrecording by police.

7. Create and strengthen antidiscrimination bodies. Official antidiscrimination and human rights bodies should have the authority to address hate crimes through monitoring, reporting, and assistance to victims.

8. Reach out to community groups. Governments should conduct outreach and education efforts to communities and civil society groups to reduce fear and assist victims, advance police-community relations, encourage improved reporting of hate crimes to the police and improve the quality of data collection by law enforcement bodies.

9. Speak out against official intolerance and bigotry. Freedom of speech allows considerable latitude for offensive and hateful speech, but public figures should be held to a higher standard. Members of parliament and local government leaders should be held politically accountable for bigoted words that encourage discrimination and violence and create a climate of fear for minorities.

10. Encourage international cooperation on hate crimes. Governments should support and strengthen the mandates of intergovernmental organizations that are addressing discrimination-like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the Fundamental Rights Agency-including by encouraging such organizations to raise the capacity of and train police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as other official bodies and civil society groups to combat violent hate crimes. Governments should also provide a detailed accounting on the incidence and nature of hate crimes to these bodies in accordance with relevant commitments.
Human Rights First

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