The Fighting Discrimination Program of
In this effort, the Program looks at both the reality of violence driven by discrimination in each country and at two principal ways in which this violence can best be confronted.
The first is through hate crimes legislation and effective and equitable enforcement of criminal law to protect often vulnerable minorities. The Program's premise is that hate crimes should be treated as the exceptional crimes that they are and prosecuted as such, including with enhanced penalties.
Second, the fight against discrimination requires the monitoring and statistical reporting of incidents and crimes in which bias is an element – in order to provide analytical tools for policy makers and effective action to confront violence. Official anti-discrimination bodies can play a pivotal role in ensuring that monitoring occurs and effective anti-discrimination policies are then implemented.
In pursuing policy changes, the Fighting Discrimination Program works in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations throughout Europe and North America and advocates directly with the governments concerned and through intergovernmental organizations, such as the
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: the OSCE provides the main stage for the Fighting Discrimination Program's advocacy on the intergovernmental level. Human Rights First is well-established and respected within this important organization that brings together 56 countries in North America, Europe, and Central Asia. The OSCE has been very receptive and supportive of the program's activities during the past years. Human Rights First has consistently maintained a vocal presence at the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIMs) and was invited to participate in various roundtables and events hosted by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The United Nations: the Fighting Discrimination Program was initiated in the aftermath of the 2001 Durban UN World Conference Against Racism (
Over the years, the Fighting Discrimination Program has also been in direct contact with important government officials who deal with the issues of discrimination, hate crime, national minorities, antisemitism, and others. Human Rights First has established good rapport with the offices of the
The Fighting Discrimination often collaborates with other nongovernmental nonprofit organizations based in different countries. Combined advocacy efforts are known to have deeper impact and wider public reach. Some of the FD Program's NGO partners include