By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com October 28 2009 8:10 PM ET

A human rights group is saying the newly passed Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act should be used to assist in the battle to end bias crimes across the globe.

Human Rights First, a nonprofit human rights organization based in New York City and Washington, D.C., released a statement that encouraged the U.S. government to demonstrate international leadership in fighting bias-motivated crimes.

Specifically, the group believes the United States should expand efforts to support human rights organizations by "raising violent hate crime issues with representatives of foreign governments and encouraging, where appropriate, legal and other policy responses ... offer[ing] appropriate technical assistance and other forms of cooperation, including training of police and prosecutors in investigating, recording, reporting, and prosecuting violent hate crimes as well as translation of Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation materials on hate crimes ... maintain[ing] strong and inclusive State Department monitoring and public reporting on racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Roma, and other bias-motivated violence."

Human Rights First reports that hate crimes are on the rise across Europe and the former Soviet Union, "a region where the majority of governments are failing to adequately address the problem." High-profile hate crimes, specifically against gays and lesbians, have also been committed in areas like the Caribbean and the Middle East.