For the third time, the Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared a report on hate crimes committed in Poland. The report will be part of a pan-European OSCE report prepared on the basis of data provided by national governments and non-governmental organizations.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has been conducting research on the scale of the so-called hate crimes committed in European countries. The information is collected through partial reports prepared by states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
The Ordo Iuris Institute has regularly participated in contributing to this report since 2015. The third and final report of the Institute was submitted in April 2017 and included mainly examples of crimes motivated by religious hatred, i.a. acts of violence and prejudice against Christians in Poland. Every year at least several dozen cases of vandalism, desacration, defamation of religious feelings occur, and only a portion of them is reported to the police by the media or the public. One of the most prominent examples mentioned in the Ordo Iuris report was disruption of the Holy Mass in the Church of St. Anna in April last year, when a group of feminists disrupted the Mass while the bishops’ letter on the issue of inadmissibility of abortion was being read and left the church. The action was planned by radical feminist circles, as was clear from the event on Facebook. Organizers have been charged with suspected offenses. The prosecutor's office is currently carrying out the investigation.
Other reports mentioned by the Institute include: stealing and burglary in churches in Warsaw, Lipany, Kaski, Siemień, Regulice, Sejny in the Podlasie region, or devastation of graves, e.g. the destruction of graves in Czestochowa, Ostrów Wielkopolski or Ełk. Unfortunately, profanation of the Host occurred several times during the year, including a well-known case of lower middle school students from Jasło. Data from Ordo Iuris reports to the OSCE indicate that each year the number of incidents motivated by hatred towards Christians and Christian symbols is increasing. Incidents of hate crime can be reported to Ordo Iuris and the Institute is also committed to providing legal support to victims of hate crimes.
For the purposes of this report, the group of reported crimes were called "hate crimes" - they may include threats, property damage, assault, murder, or any other offense motivated by hatred or prejudice.
For the purpose of drafting a European-wide report, standardized verification criteria for applications from all countries were adopted. For a given act to be qualified by the authors of the OSCE collective report as a hate crime an event must meet two criteria jointly: firstly, the attack must constitute a criminal offense under the national law of the country concerned; and secondly, the action has to be motivated by prejudice (e.g. racial, religious, ethnic, national, sexual, sexual orientation).