Any criminal act committed against a person or property, which is motivated by the offender’s hatred of people because of the race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation is a hate crime.
Being a victim of this kind of crime can be a particularly frightening experience as you have been victimised because of who you are, or who or what your attacker thinks you are.
Hate crime can take many forms:
- Racial abuse (threats or insults), which can be verbal or written - Bullying, harassment - Causing damage to property - Circulating or displaying racist or other hate material - Offensive graffiti - Any physical violence
The Latvian Criminal Law criminalises incitement to hatred on the basis of race, ethnic, national origin and religion (Sections 78, 150, 151). The Law also provides for racist motive as an aggravating circumstance (Section 48) for all offences.
Why should hate crimes be reported? We all have the right to live our lives in peace and with dignity at home, at work or in the street. When crimes are not reported, the offenders are free to commit similar crimes again either against you or other members of the community.
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights is an independent non-governmental organisation established in 1993 working with issues concerning integration, discrimination, hate crimes, asylum, migration and fundamental rights issues, as well as human rights in closed institutions.