Statement of the Observatory at the OSCE Review Conference in Warsaw, on "Tolerance and Non-Discrimination"

OSCE Review Conference Warsaw, 30. September - 8. October 2010 Session HDR8, Oct. 6, on  "Tolerance and Non-Discrimination II, including Promotion of Gender balance, preventing and responding to hate crimes, combating intolerance and discrimination" View statement online:  This is an intervention, presented by Barbara Vittucci, on behalf of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, an organization that monitors and documents such cases in Europe ( Increasingly Christians report to us that they are being discriminated against or treated in an intolerant manner or that they become victims of hate crimes, East and West of Vienna: -       We notice an increase in vandalizing and desecration of Christian symbols and Church buildings in several countries, esp. West of Vienna. -       Religious people have reportedly been attacked on streets, mainly with insults. -      Social marginalisation is often a result of declaring oneself as a Christian. In the work place this has been a reason for discrimination in numerous cases. -      Problems are caused by so-called hate speech legislation – penalizing expression of the Christian faith, -      In the area of education parents' rights regarding the education of their children are being violated, -      Discriminations are occurring in the area of freedom of conscience, which is currently under threat through the McCafferty report proposed in the Council of Europe, which will be voted on tomorrow, October 7th. - Problematic is anti-discrimination legislation, which causes reverse discrimination against Christians. An example of which is the directive, which the European Union is currently finalizing. Therefore we recommend to the OSCE/ODIHR and the OSCE Missions, for the OSCE Summit in Kazakhstan in view of the important course it will be setting, 1) To recognise and condemn the problem of discrimination against Christians in its different features, both in the Eastern and Western countries of the OSCE (East and West of Vienna) and to reiterate the findings and conclusions of the Roundtable on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians held in Vienna on March 4th, 2009 2) To use all their means to work against intolerance against Christians, inter alia by -       seeing the problem as one of their core issues in the framework of its work on tolerance related issues -       raising awareness throughout the OSCE region -       assessing legislation in the participating States in view of discrimination and intolerance against Christians -       encouraging the media not to enflame prejudices against Christians -        further developing the Tolerance And Non Discrimination Information System webpage ( with more specific information -       devoting specific attention to the issue of discrimination in their reports on human rights offences, in particular on hate crimes and hate events against Christians. 3)    We ask Mr. Mario Mauro, the OSCE Personal Representative on Combating Discrimination, including a focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions, to give consistent attention to the fact that discrimination against Christians is part of the core issues of his mandate.