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Before mosque attacks, New Zealand failed to record hate crimes for years

Weeks before a gunman killed 50 Muslims in Christchurch, a man had threatened to burn copies of the Koran outside New Zealand mosques, in what community leaders said was the latest in a long list of threatening behaviour against religious minorities.

Police said they warned a 38-year-old man over the incident, which was unrelated to the Christchurch attack, but could not say if it was part of a pattern.

That’s because, unlike many Western countries including the United Kingdom and the United States, New Zealand’s government keeps no comprehensive record of hate crimes, failing to act on requests to do so from local and international agencies spanning more than a decade.

“For many years our view has consistently been that this needs to be prioritised and implemented urgently,” said Janet Anderson-Bidois, Chief Legal Adviser at the Human Rights Commission, the independent government agency tasked with protecting human rights.

“It is imperative that we have good data.”

A suspected white supremacist has been charged with murder over the Christchurch shootings and will appear in court again on April 5.

In the wake of New Zealand’s worst mass shooting, questions are being asked about what signs agencies missed and where resources should have been allocated to protect vulnerable communities…Continue Reading

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