Pro Igual continues its initiative to survey individual experiences with hate crime in Spain. If you were a victim or witness of a hate crime, or know someone who was, please help us raise awareness of the true scope of the phenomenon by taking part in our online survey on hate crimes in Spain, and sharing the link among your contacts and networks. The 2015 survey is available in Spanish. All responses are strictly confidential. Thank you for your help!
Three years ago Europe saw up close the ugly face of violent #xenophobia & #racism. Let´s honor the victims of the Utoya massacre by say NO to #hatecrimes & #hatespeech. Please sign the petition to make July 22 the European Day for Victims of Hate Crimes. This initiative is promoted by No Hate Speech Movement in which Pro Igual Participates. Click here to read more.
Pro Igual is pleased to announce that our application to become a member of PICUM was formally approved by the PICUM General Assembly on 21 June 2014.
Pro Igual´s initiatives specifically regarding undocumented migrants include: campaign Save Hospitality! alongside other Spanish NGOs which succeeded in having the draft Penal Code amended so to avoid criminalizing any assistance to undocumented migrants. Also, our ongoing activities include domestic and international advocacy for closure of Centros de Internamiento para Extranjeros (CIEs).
We look forward to fruitful cooperation with all the Platform members and supporters to bring greater visibility to the issues surrounding undocumented migrants in Spain and to ensuring human rights for all persons, regardless of their administrative status.
For the second year, Spanish NGOs across the country have dedicated June the 15th to actively campaigning for the closure of Internment Centers for Foreigners (CIEs). CIEs are prisons in all but name for foreigners who find themselves in an irregular administrative situation. Pro Igual has written about CIEs in the past and some of our advocacy activities are also related to human rights violations taking places in CIEs.
CIEs exist against a backdrop of the economic crisis and rise in xenophobia exploited by some political forces to gain votes. But declarations demonizing immigrants are not only harmful for social cohesion, they are also patently untrue. Here are 5 persistent myths v. facts regarding immigration in Spain.
Myth 1: Immigrants are “flooding” Spain.
Fact: For several years now Spain has experienced net out-migration, that is, more people leave than come to Spain. According to the figures of the Spanish Institute for Statistics (INE), not only Spanish citizens leave Spain in droves, but also more foreign (non-EU) nationals leave than come.
Myth 2: Immigrants are responsible for most crime in Spain.
Fact: Neither in terms of economic volume (that is, how much money they got through criminal activity), nor in terms of violence, do foreigners lead. In several major corruption cases uncovered in recent years and involving billions of euros, it was Spanish citizens, often holding public office, who were the perpetrators, not immigrants.
Myth 3: Immigrants burden Spanish social security.
Fact: Budget cuts of recent years have left without access to healthcare tens of thousands of immigrants who lost jobs and access to residence. That is despite the fact that immigrants were contributing to economy and social security while they had jobs. At the same time, troubled companies, primarily banks, received billions of public funding after causing economic damage to the country that affected all the rest. Sheer amounts of subsidies to banks dwarf all the (theoretical) welfare payments to Spaniards and immigrants combined.
Myth 4: Foreigners in CIEs are criminals and subject to deportation.
Fact: Less than a quarter of CIE detainees are charged with any infraction. Well over half are released following identification, after having suffered the trauma of de facto imprisonment and on occasion even abuse. There is no need to maintain these expensive and inhuman institutions to address the issues that present less danger to public than traffic violations.
Myth 5: CIEs are “residential centers” for foreigners.
Fact: CIE inmates are often subjected to human rights violations, prompting a nickname “Spanish guantanamos.” Just recently, the Spanish courts ruled against CIE guards accused of rape, beating and other forms of ill-treatment of inmates. And since inmates cannot leave, or for that matter be visited by family at their leisure, CIEs are effectively prisons. The only difference is: there needs to be a crime and a due process in order to throw a person in jail. To get into CIE, it is sufficient to “look foreign” and not have an ID.
So, today, Pro Igual joins with our friends and colleagues from other Spanish NGOs in calling for the immediate and complete closure of CIEs.
Pro Igual has joined numerous NGOs and individuals across Europe forming part in No Hate Speech Movement.
The campaign is against hate speech online in all its forms, including cyber-bullying and cyber-hate. The campaign is not designed to limit freedom of expression online. Neither is it about everyone being nice to each other online. The campaign is based upon human rights education, youth participation and media literacy.
Through participation in the Movement Pro Igual hopes to raise awareness of extreme intolerance experienced by members of our target groups – especially minorities and foreigners – and stop and prevent hate crimes that unfortunately have become a fact of life in Spain.
To read more, please visit here.
In May 2013 Pro Igual joined the European Network of Rights Advice Centres (ENRAC). ENRAC is a joint initiative of Kent University in Brussels, the Kent Law Clinic and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)
The Network´s mission is problem-solving of difficult cases through collective action and contribution to improvements in European policy and legislation. It is a not-for-profit service and is comprised of existing not-for-profit organizations and/or legal clinics on a national level which are able to assist citizens in upholding their European rights before the national authorities.
Pro Igual hopes through participation in the Network to provide better assistance to our target groups, including foreigners, minorities and others at risk of exclusion and discrimination, with asserting their fundamental rights vis-a-vis Spanish public authorities.