Neapykantos nusikaltimai: aktualijos ir tendencijos
From May 1, 2004 Lithuania became a member of the European Union, and in 2004, on the 29th of March joined NATO. In case of the EU, Lithuania has committed to harmonize its national legislation with Community law, and this has led to changes in the Lithuanian legal acts on human rights. Lithuania, as other Member States apply EU laws directly or transfer into national laws. The harmonization of legal acts in Lithuania also contributed to public policy-making in order to deal with various forms of discrimination. These changes had an impact on the struggle against hate crimes during the recent years. Furthermore, this type of crimes attracts more international attention. There is a great number of such crimes throughout the history and, unfortunately, victims are counted in millions. Hate crimes are crimes motivated by racial, ethnic or religious hatred or enmity. Reports of violence against certain ethnic groups are regularly appear on media sites. International organizations such as the UN (United Nations), the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) noted that hate crimes is a serious public safety problem. These crimes result not only in physical and mental sufferings of the victim or economic losses. Moreover, the outcome is the altering of relationship between different social groups, i.e. mistrust, suspicion and hostility. Such offences can lead to conflicts, resulting in a large mass of people forced to leave their homes and become refugees and asylum seekers. These people are the potential for radical extremism and terrorism. Western democracies develop laws that impose criminal penalties for hate crimes. The experience of countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Germany and etc in adoption and improvement of legislation in the struggle against such crimes, also the recommendations of various international organizations will contribute to the reduction of hate crime rate in Lithuania.
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