Regional Conference on Responding to Antisemitic Hate Crimes and Addressing the Security Needs of Jewish Communities

On 13 November, 2018, the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia hosted a regional conference on Responding to Antisemitic Hate Crimes and Addressing the Security Needs of Jewish Communities in Skopje.

In his opening remarks the Minister of Interior, Mr. Oliver Spasovski, underlined that the fight against the contemporary antisemitism and the security of the Jewish communities are of particular importance for the government and stressed the need to take preventive measures and to enhance the inter-institutional cooperation.The State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Viktor Dimovski, the President of the Jewish Community, Mrs. B. Romano-Nikolik, the Chief of the OSCE Mission in Skopje, Ambassador Mr. C. Koja, and the Deputy Head of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department at OSCE/ODIHR, Mrs. C. Edwards, highlighted in their opening addresses that antisemitism is not only a Jewish problem but a global one challenging the democratic values of our societies. They also stressed that it is the role of governments to ensure the security of Jews and the importance of improving the cooperation between the law-enforcement agencies and the Jewish communities.

The conference provided a platform for presenting the ODIHR publication “Understanding Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes and Addressing Security Needs of Jewish Communities – A Practical Guide” that lays out recommendations governments should, in co-operation with Jewish communities, undertake to better address the security needs of Jewish communities, as well as to share good practices in several OSCE participating states.

The participants discussed and exchanged views about the measures the governmental institutions should undertake to better fight and prevent antisemitism and to provide increased security for Jewish communities, ways and means to strengthen the cooperation between the respective law-enforcement agencies and Jewish communities and took active part in the workshop on the application of the Security Guide’s 10-Step Model to Local Context.

The regional conference, organized by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as part of the German-funded project “Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism”, and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jewish community of the host country as well as the OSCE Mission in Skopje, was attended by more than 50 law-enforcement officials from the ministries of interior, ministries of justice and Jewish community representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and the host country.

Credit: Jovan Tegovski