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May 02, 2013

United States Plays Key Role in Global Fight on Hate Crime

By Mehran Hicks

This week at the Centennial Summit and Gala of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Elisa Massimino discussed the need to advance the global fight against discrimination and hate crime. In her remarks, she called upon the United States to take a leadership role in this fight against discrimination.

During the discussion, which featured, the Council for Global Equality’s Mark Bromley, Christina Finch from Amnesty International, and the ADL’s Stacy Burdett, Massimino stressed that anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Muslim hatred, xenophobia, religious intolerance, and related forms of hatred are human rights issues that must be confronted head-on by all who seek to advance universal rights and freedoms. Too often, these forms of hatred are only challenged by victims’ groups or those who represent communities of targeted individuals.

The United States has a long history of addressing these challenges at home. Given this legacy, the U.S. government must rise to the challenge of being a global leader on this issue, especially as violent hate crime around the world is on the rise.

Efforts by United States and other nations have succeeded in drawing greater attention to fighting discrimination in the last decade, and their work on this issue is to be commended. However, governments still have much to do to protect all of their citizens from hate crime violence.

Earlier this year, Massimino testified before Congress on practical steps the U.S. government can take to effectively combat the problem of global anti-Semitism.

In her remarks yesterday, Massimino highlighted that for the United States to lead the way in combating discriminatory and hate crime violence, it should take the following steps:

  • Elevate the importance of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy by developing a national security strategy that promotes international religious freedom, combats anti-Semitic and related violence and confronts hate speech while protecting freedom of expression.
     
  • Establish an interagency mechanism to deploy strategically the resources and programs from across the different U.S. government agencies to combat hate crime globally.
     
  • Make combating hate crime an important component of bilateral engagement with other countries.
     
  • Maintain the international leadership of the United States in multilateral forums, particularly the OSCE.