The Battle for Inclusion has been Won; FBI Advisory Policy Board Votes to Track Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Hate Crimes

The more difficult battle remains: getting the FBI to accurately document hate crimes nationally.

WASHINGTON DC, June 13, 2013 –
After intensive advocacy efforts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) advisory board voted to amend the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) form to include Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs. The UCR form is used by law enforcement to track hate crimes statistics annually.The decision came 10 months after the attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin that claimed the lives of six worshippers. At a Town Hall meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in October of 2012, ICAAD, civil rights organizations, and faith based advocates presented recommendations. This meeting ultimately led the FBI to consider the voices of minority communities who have been silenced for over a decade.Read ICAAD’s submission to the Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes and Town Hall meeting.
Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Committees of independent experts that monitor countries’ implementation of international human rights treaties.Consultation: Civil society engagement with their governments on compliance with human rights treaties. This is an opportunity to discuss the “list of issues” adopted by the relevant treaty body committee.Shadow Report: NGO reports to the treaty bodies that present alternative information to government reports.
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However, this is only the first step in addressing the systemic problem of hate crimes against vulnerable communities. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (a division of the DOJ), 259,000 hate crimes occurred each year on average between 2007-2011. In contrast, the FBI recorded only 7,254 hate crimes for 2011. This 35 fold gap in documenting hate crimes is unconscionable.To combat this problem, ICAAD is:
  • Submitting shadow reports to the Committees for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) regarding the U.S. government’s failure to document and monitor hate crimes. ICAAD participated as a member ofUSHRN in civil society consultations for both treaties on May 30, 2013 and February 11, 2013 respectively.
  • Researching and identifying trends and gaps in hate crimes statistics over the past decade with the help of graduate student interns from Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School of Public Policy and Information Systems.
  • Publishing a law review article in Berkeley’s Asian American Law Journal (AALJ) on ICAAD’s systems approach to addressing structural discrimination. The journal article focuses on hate crimes in the U.S. as the lens in which to tell the story.

ICAAD would like to recognize the bipartisan support from over 140 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the recommendations submitted by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Community Relations Service to the FBI. Furthermore, contributions from the Sikh Coalition, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) played a decisive role in getting the FBI to change its coding policies.