Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region – Incidents and Responses is prepared annually by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as part of the OSCE’s efforts to combat hate crimes. 
Despite the continuing efforts by the OSCE and participating States, this report shows that hate crime remains a significant problem in our region, with the potential to escalate into wider social  conflict. In 2009, a large number of people were killed, injured or otherwise targeted for no other reason than being seen as belonging to a specific ethnicity, “race”, religion or other group. Combating hate crime must, therefore, remain a priority. Addressing hate crime effectively requires that we more accurately identify the nature and extent of the problem, a challenge made more difficult by the scarcity of data, by the way in which analysis of available data is complicated by the different systems for its collection and recording, and by the fact that hate crimes are generally under-reported. We hope the publication of this report will be a step towards addressing these issues.
This year’s report again focuses on the collection of data on hate crimes, the need for which the OSCE Ministerial Council has specifically acknowledged. Most of the data presented here are from governments and other official sources, although a number of additional sources have also been used. Along with data collection, other aspects of addressing the problem of hate crime are covered to the extent that new developments were reported in 2009. 
OSCE bodies and institutions devoted significant attention to the problem of hate crime over the course of 2009. Most notably, the Ministerial Council in Athens adopted the first OSCE decision related directly to hate crime, expressing concern about the problem and outlining a series of steps to address it. These included improving legislation in this area, training law-enforcement agencies and assisting victims of hate crimes.