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European Victims of Crime Day (22 February)

On the occasion of the European Victims of Crime Day (22 February 2019) Pro Igual reminds that all victims of hate crime in Spain, irrespective of their legal status, can anonimously share their experiences through its hate crimes survey. There [...]

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Pro Igual Resumes Surveying Hate Crimes in Spain

Pro Igual resumes 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 monitor the scope of the phenomenon by taking part [...]

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Deal or no deal: the rights that will be lost with Brexit

By Claudia Delpero in collaboration with Anthony Valcke, Founder and Supervising Solicitor of the EU Rights Clinic of which Pro Igual is a member. © All rights reserved. Available on: https://europestreet.news/deal-or-no-deal-the-rights-that-will-be-lost-with-brexit/ Deal or no deal? That is the question. Despite the [...]

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New social media campaign for European Day of Victims of Crime

Victim Support Europe (VSE) is preparing to launch a social media campaign in recognition of European Day For Victims of Crime with the overall aim – to make victims’ legal rights a reality on practice. The action seeks to improve the [...]

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Child without a name

Hanna is five years old. She drew this picture of the happy family she wishes for. Her mother named her Hanna but her name is nowhere officially recognised; to the German authorities, she is a nameless child. She was born [...]

 

Pro Igual joins No Hate Speech Movement

NoHateSpeechMovement

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.

Interior Encierra En Zapadores A Mujeres Embarazadas, Lactantes Y Personas Con Menores A Su Cargo

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El Ministerio de Interior está encerrando en el CIE de Zapadores a embarazadas, mujeres lactantes y personas que tienen menores a su cargo, afectando a su salud e incrementando la vulnerabilidad de los niños y niñas que dependen de ellas. Estas personas, que han sido detenidas y encerradas por carecer de permiso de residencia, no cuentan con ningún tipo de atención especial acorde con su situación sino que tienen que someterse a las deficientes condiciones de vida del CIE que denuncian quienes tienen que sufrir esta reclusión. En los últimos meses hemos conocido los casos de dos embarazadas, una mujer que estaba dando el pecho a su bebé y dos personas con hijas de corta edad que dependen de ellas.

Hace aproximadamente un mes, una pareja fue detenida y en Zapadores fueron separados en las celdas destinadas a hombres y en las de mujeres. Ella estaba embarazada y de su cuidado se encargaron principalmente las internas ya que la única atención sanitaria que recibió fueron las visitas periódicas, en su horario laboral, al médico de la empresa privada contratada por el ministerio para atender en el CIE, según han explicado varias personas a integrantes de la Campaña por el Cierre de los Centros de Internamiento para Extranjeros. Su compañero, desesperado por la situación, se autolesionó cortándose en varias partes del cuerpo. Cuando lo trajeron de vuelta del hospital, donde le dieron varios puntos, lo metieron en una celda de aislamiento. Al día siguiente fueron expulsados los dos: él, con las heridas aún recientes y ella, en pleno periodo gestacional. Ni siquiera se molestaron en cumplir con la orden de noviembre de 2012 del juzgado de instrucción nº 3 de Valencia -que ejerce el control jurisdiccional sobre el CIE de Zapadores- que obliga a la dirección del CIE a avisar previamente a las personas que van a ser deportadas. A principios de abril, una mujer paraguaya embarazada de seis meses también fue recluida en el CIE y deportada

En las mismas fechas, una mujer boliviana que lleva varios años residiendo en España fue detenida en plena calle y se le separó de su hija de mes y medio, a quien estaba amamantando, argumentando que no estaba en condiciones de cuidar de ella. La policía dio parte del caso a la fiscalía de menores. Al ser encerrada en Zapadores, el bebé quedó a cargo de su padre, pero tuvieron que contratar a una mujer para que la cuidara y la llevara algunos días al CIE desde Gandia, donde vive la familia. En el horario de visitas de familiares, dependiendo del criterio del policía de turno, se permitía que el bebé pasara al lado de la mampara donde estaba la madre para que ésta la pudiera tener entre sus brazos los 10 minutos que duraba cada encuentro. El director del CIE se negó a que el bebé pudiera estar con la madre durante las dos horas establecidas para visitas de familiares. Hay que recordar que el juzgado de instrucción nº 3 ordenó en abril de 2011 que las mamparas existentes en la sala de visitas “no supongan un obstáculo para el contacto directo entre internos y visitantes”, pero la dirección del CIE se ha limitado a eliminar una pequeña rejilla por donde las personas únicamente pueden darse la mano. Finalmente, esta mujer, tras pasar 26 días encerrada y preocupada por el estado de salud de su hija a la que no había podido amamantar desde que ingresó en el CIE, fue puesta en libertad. Por su parte, la fiscalía de menores la consideró capaz de hacerse cargo de la niña y ha vuelto a su hogar con su familia, pero ya no puede dar pecho a su hija porque
se le cortó la leche mientras permanecía encerrada.

Además de estos casos, también hemos conocido la situación de varias personas que han sido recluidas e incluso expulsadas a pesar de tener hijos, nacidos en España, que estaban bajo su custodia. Hace varias semanas, una mujer fue expulsada a su país de origen mientras su niña, de 6 años, se quedaba en España; durante el tiempo que estuvo en Zapadores sólo pudo hablar por teléfono con su hija gracias a que otras personas internas le prestaban dinero para poder llamar. Desde el pasado 17 de abril permanece encerrado un hombre marroquí, que tiene una niña de 14 meses y cuya compañera está embarazada de cinco meses. Esta persona lleva casi cuatro años viviendo en España sin poder obtener el permiso de residencia porque nunca le hacen contrato en los trabajos que ha ejercido. Su compañera y su hija están malviviendo del subsidio de desempleo que se acaba en dos meses. Si finalmente le expulsan, ellas y el bebé que nacerá quedarán absolutamente desamparadas pues no tienen familia en España. La mujer acude diariamente a Zapadores con su bebé para visitar a su marido y tiene que presentar una instancia para que le dejen pasar la pequeña al otro lado de la mampara para que pueda abrazarla; ella sólo pude hablar con él a través del cristal.

Estas situaciones son una clara vulneración de los convenios internacionales de protección de la infancia y la familia, y, además, suponen el incumplimiento de las propias disposiciones del Ministerio del Interior que anunció que no se internarían en los CIE a inmigrantes que pudieran demostrar su arraigo social en España: no hay mayor arraigo que el hecho de que todas estas personas son o iban a ser madres o padres de niños y niñas españoles.

http://ciesno.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/interior-encierra-en-zapadores-a-mujeres-embarazadas-lactantes-y-personas-con-menores-a-su-cargo/

FRA Director holds speech on combating hate crime in Europe and beyond

“Hate crimes speak to people who sympathise with the offender and whose biased attitudes the offender confirms and reinforces. They say ‘don’t think you’re wanted here, because you’re not. And don’t think you’re safe, because we’ve already shown you’re not – and it could happen again. Be scared’.”

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum held a speech entitled Innocent figures: why we need more facts at the conference ‘Right-wing extremism and hate crime: minorities under pressure in Europe and beyond’ in Oslo on 14-15 May.

He began by talking of the gaps in data collection that can impede the search for lasting and effective solutions to the phenomenon of hate crime. This leaves the majority of such crimes unrecognised, unprosecuted and therefore invisible. The gaps are due both to under-reporting by victims, who often lack confidence in the authorities’ ability to afford them protection, and to under-recording by national governments. At present, only four EU Member States collect comprehensive data on hate crime, while differences of classification in national crime statistics often make it impossible to make comparisons between countries.

FRA research shows clearly that hate crime is a major problem in the EU today. This is particularly the case in the wake of the EU’s economic crisis, with violent extremism on the rise in a number of countries. Of the 93,000 respondents to FRA’s 2012 LGBT survey, 26% had experienced violence in the five years preceding the survey, with the figure rising to 35% for transgender people. In a survey of Jewish communities, FRA found that 26% had experienced some form of harassment in the 12 months preceding the survey.

The Director emphasised that hate crime transcends the experiences of the individuals directly involved, as homophobic, racist and other crimes motivated by prejudice create an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that harms entire groups and society as a whole. This means it is all the more important for countries to introduce enhanced penalties for bias-motivated crimes, thus making perpetrators fully accountable for their actions.

At the end of his speech, the Director underlined the fact that hate crime is not just a phenomenon that affects a few individuals marginal to society, but a direct attack on the democratic principle of equality and the assumption that each person in a democratic society can live without fear of violence and discrimination.

Original link: http://fra.europa.eu/en/news/2013/fra-director-holds-speech-combating-hate-crime-europe-and-beyond

Human rights commissioner warns against “worrying intensification” in activities of race-hate groups

In his latest comment article, human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks warns against the “worrying intensification” in the activities of race hate groups across Europe.

Nils Muižnieks writes: “According to some commentators, the upsurge has even reached the point of “an early form of far right terror.”

The Commissioner for Human Rights adds: “It worries me deeply that the European community and national political leaders appear not to be fully aware of the serious threat that these organisations pose to the rule of law and human rights.”

Muižnieks states that “the philosophy of racist extremist organisations is centred on denying the entitlement of ‘others’ – mainly migrants and members of national, ethnic and religious minorities – to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“They invent “enemies” who have to be fought and eliminated. In Greece, for example, between October 2011 and December 2012 around 220 racist attacks were reported to the Racist Violence Recording Network headed by UNHCR and the National Commission for Human Rights. That is about one attack every other day. In my recent report concerning Greece I underlined the need to curb hate crime and combat impunity for hate crimes.”

More information

The fight against racism in Europe

Original link: http://www.humanrightseurope.org/2013/05/human-rights-commissioner-warns-against-worrying-intensification-in-activities-of-race-hate-groups/

Pro Igual joins ENRAC

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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.

Why the Media Treats Right-Wing and Islamist Terrorism Differently

Racial and ethnic minorities are often made scapegoats. The press ought to be attuned to that.

Original link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/why-the-media-treats-right-wing-and-islamist-terrorism-differently/275090/

Larry O’Connor, a talk-radio host, Breitbart.com editor, and frequent Fox News guest, speculates about what he thinks is going to happen after the perpetrator in the Boston bomb attack is identified:

Tweet: “If perp is radical Islamist we’ll be lectured abt tolerance, If crazy right-winger, we’ll be lectured abt dangerous rhetoric.”

“The 1000+ reporters in Boston are just waiting to hear which tired old template to use,” he added. “The networks have all their experts lined up. Ready to comment on tolerance or on dangers of right-wing politics.” I’m sure that, whatever happens, the ensuing TV coverage will prove awful. But if O’Connor is right about the reaction of the media, will the media be misbehaving? Is there an illegitimate asymmetry in how right-wing and Islamist attackers would be covered?

The relevant principles involved, as I see them, are these:

  • Whether the perpetrator is an Islamist radical, the member of a violent right-wing militia, or anyone else, it is important that other people who merely share their race or ethnicity aren’t blamed or made to suffer for their acts.
  • If extremist rhetoric played a role in radicalizing the perpetrator, whether he is an Islamist radical, a right-wing militia member, or anyone else, it is fair game to criticize the attendant rhetoricians.

There are times when journalists bungle this sort of coverage in ways that are unfair to the right and times when they handle things in ways that are unfair to Muslims. But as a general matter, tolerance is urged when the perpetrator is Muslim, and not when the perpetrator is a white right-winger, not because journalists only value tolerance in one situation, but because when guys like Tim McVeigh perpetrate terrorism, there’s never an irrational backlash against white men.

That racial and ethnic tolerance will prevail goes without saying.

As for dangerous rhetoric, when the perpetrator is a radical Islamist, there is no shortage of Americans who are critical of radical imams, al-Qaeda’s magazine, or terrorist recruitment efforts. No one questions the notion that extremist propaganda can radicalize an eventual terrorist when Islamists are behind an attack. Even Muslims who are in no way radical find themselves expected to denounce the acts of Islamist terrorists (though that is wrongheaded and unfair).

To be sure, a radicalized right-winger shouldn’t cause the media to harass every right-wing talk-radio host into a defensive crouch. Of course the media ought to be attuned to the possibility of civil-liberties violations being perpetrated against non-violent right-wingers unfairly stereotyped due to their co-ideologues. But handled properly, there is nothing wrong with talking, in the aftermath of a right-wing terrorist attack, about extremist propaganda that radicalized the terrorist.

There are instances of media misbehavior that O’Connor and I would agree about. I don’t think it was fair for some to criticize Sarah Palin as if she had anything to do with the Gabby Giffords shooting. Complaints about that coverage were justified.

But as a general proposition, I think O’Connor is wrong to be aggrieved that the media will talk about tolerance if the perpetrator turns out to be a radical Islamist. And depending on the coverage, he may also be wrong to complain if a right-winger inspires conversation about dangerous rhetoric. (If the perpetrator is a Muslim, O’Connor won’t criticize anyone for indicting radical Islamist rhetoric.)

For various reasons, Americans respond to Islamist terrorism very differently than terrorism perpetrated by Tim McVeigh types. Little wonder that the excesses the media warns about vary depending upon the perpetrator. Conservatives would be on firmer ground casting this as oversensitivity if not for the fact that so many innocent Muslim Americans are victimized by people who treat them as a suspect class. Calls for tolerance aren’t rote political correctness. They’re an attempt, too often unsuccessful, to safeguard the ability of the wrongly targeted to be treated as individuals possessed of inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Racial and ethnic minorities are often made scapegoats in a way that members of the majority aren’t.

The press ought to be attuned to that.

Atrapados tras las rejas: Informe CIE 2012

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Informe 2012 sobre los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIE) en España, por Centro Pueblos Unidos
  • En los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIE) se encierra a personas extranjeras a quienes se va a expulsar del país, en la mayoría de los casos por estancia irregular (carecer de permiso de trabajo y residencia). La estancia irregular es una infracción administrativa, no es un delito.
  • De acuerdo con la ley, el único derecho limitado en los CIE es la libertad de movimiento, todos los demás derechos permanecen en vigor y el Estado tiene la obligación de garantizar su efectivo cumplimiento.
  • En España existen ocho CIE con capacidad para internar a unas 2.500 personas simultáneamente.

No es fácil conocer cuántas personas internan en los CIE españoles y cuántas de ellas son finalmente expulsadas. El Ministerio del Interior no publica cifras sobre los CIE. Aproximadamente, 1.000 personas extranjeras ingresan en los CIE cada mes, de las cuales poco más de la mitad son finalmente expulsadas. Según los datos de nuestra observación, en el CIE de Madrid fueron internadas en 2012, 3.060 personas.

Este Informe pretende visibilizar una realidad que sigue siendo desconocida para la gran mayoría de la ciudadanía, contribuyendo así a la mejora de las condiciones de internamiento, a la defensa de los derechos de las personas internadas y a un uso limitado, racional y conforme a derecho de los CIE, con el horizonte final de su desmantelamiento definitivo.

El estudio se basa en las visitas de un grupo estable de voluntarios al CIE de Madrid. Sistematiza el acompañamiento y el servicio cotidiano a los internos, y recoge sus observaciones. A lo largo del año 2012, hemos realizado 1.277 visitas, a 328 personas, lo que supone casi el 11% del total de las personas internadas en el CIE de Madrid.

Las fuentes para la elaboración de este Informe son: la experiencia cotidiana a lo largo de los doce meses del año, con presencia todas las semanas en horario de mañana y de tarde; la explotación cuantitativa de esos datos y la sistematización cualitativa de las observaciones; el riguroso análisis jurídico de la normativa; el seguimiento cercano de la práctica administrativa; la interlocución institucional en sus diversos niveles y el trabajo en red con otras entidades sociales.

Entre las novedades de este Informe respecto a los de años anteriores, cabe destacar: la incorporación de un apartado acerca del CIE de Barcelona, basado en las visitas allí realizadas; la constatación de que se sigue recurriendo al internamiento de manera desproporcionada y el estudio de las alternativas al internamiento y el análisis del proceso de elaboración del Reglamento de los CIE, que ha marcado la agenda política en este campo durante 2012.

(Sigue leyendo aqui.)

ICSR Insight: The New Far Right – 10 Issues and Questions

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This ICSR Insight highlights 10 major themes, issues and questions that have emerged from the conference. As will be shown, the New Far Right is a new and unique challenge for Western democracies which policymakers and experts have yet to fully understand. Their success in doing so is key to making sure that modern multicultural societies remain peaceful and cohesive.

By Peter R. Neumann, ICSR Director

@ICSRblog
@PeterRNeumann

The original link: http://icsr.info/2013/04/icsr-insight-the-new-far-right-10-issues-and-questions/

Last month, ICSR – in partnership with the Community Security Trust and the Swedish National Defence College – hosted an important conference on the New Far Right, bringing together nearly 100 stakeholders from academia, politics, the media, and grassroots initiatives.

This ICSR Insight highlights 10 major themes, issues and questions that have emerged from the conference. As will be shown, the New Far Right is a new and unique challenge for Western democracies which policymakers and experts have yet to fully understand. Their success in doing so is key to making sure that modern multicultural societies remain peaceful and cohesive.

1) “The threat is real”. As the UK’s Security Minister, James Brokenshire, noted, the threat from far-right terrorism is significant, albeit “not as systematic or widespread as the al Qaeda inspired [terrorist] threat”. In UK prisons, there are currently 17 individuals who have been charged with or convicted for terrorist offences “associated with far-fight extremism”.

2) Conspiracy theory. The New Far Right is inspired – in part – by a conspiracy theory according to which Western Muslims, allied with liberal governments, plan to destroy Western democracies and replace them with a Caliphate . This movement calls itself ”Counter-Jihad”.

3) Public disorder and social cohesion. More so than terrorism, New Far Right activists have been involved in street violence and acts of public disorder. Their aggressive rhetoric divides communities and undermines social cohesion. They also campaign against the use of Islamic practices – such as ritually slaughtered halal meat.

4) Old vs. New Far Right. There are striking differences between the “old” (neo-Nazi) Far Right and so-called Counter-Jihad members like Anders Breivik. However, there also exist many similarities, and it would be wrong to ignore the continued threat from “old” far-right groups in countries such as Greece and Germany.

5) Echoes of extremism. In the British context, the New Far Right and Islamist extremists seem to be in a symbiotic relationship, confirming each other’s stereotypes and providing motives and justifications for mobilising their respective sympathisers.

6) Addressing grievances. New Far Right activism is often rooted in social, economic and cultural fears about immigration. Mainstream politicians from across the political spectrum have failed to articulate these concerns in a way that would undercut the support for far-right extremists.

7) Emerging structures. The structures of the New Far Right are increasingly pan-European, with leaders and activists from different countries coming together for joint campaigns, as well as trying to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes.

8) The Internet matters. Social media, blogs and video-sharing sites are key to understanding how the New Far Right disseminates its message, mobilises its followers, and retains a sense of cohesion despite the lack of centrally organised structures.

9) Countering the New Far Right. Government counter-radicalisation programmes – such as the British PREVENT – have mostly focused on Islamist extremism. Policymakers need to understand what lessons have been learned and how those programmes can be applied to the New Far Right.

10) Connecting the dots. For researchers, the principal task is to bring together expert communities dealing with terrorism, far-right extremism and other related threats, so that different bodies of knowledge can be better integrated.

The conference was part of ICSR’s ongoing efforts to make sense of the evolving nature of far-right extremism. For some of our recent publications on this issue, see:

The conference can be watched in full on the ICSR YouTube channel.

Sign Amnesty International´s Petition: Human rights here, Roma rights now

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Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner on Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Roma across Europe – 6 million in the EU – are the largest and most disadvantaged minority in the region.

Thousands of Roma are forced to live in informal settlements; they are forcibly evicted from their homes, and, if not left homeless, are resettled in inadequate conditions. Each year, thousands of Roma children are segregated in schools offering inferior education. Many Roma are denied access to jobs and quality health care. They are victims of racially motivated violence, often left without police protection or access to justice.

This is not a coincidence. It is the result of widespread discrimination and racism facing Roma across Europe.

Many EU member states fail to enforce, in policy and practice, not just international human rights standards, but also EU anti-discrimination law. The European Commission has the competence, responsibility and obligation to ensure compliance with this law and fight against the discrimination facing Roma.

The EU prides itself on being founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This continues to ring hollow while millions of Roma are denied their basic human rights due to discrimination.

I urge you to use all your powers, including sound legal monitoring and political pressure, to guarantee the compliance of EU member states with EU anti-discrimination law and uphold equal rights for all.

You can always try blame-the-immigrants-game

http://blogs.euobserver.com/nilsson/2013/04/03/you-can-always-try-blame-the-immigrants-game/

A clever trick – used often – when a politician is worried about his party´s ranking in the polls or maybe wants direct attention to something else than the sorry state of affairs in the country he is running, is to point finger at immigrants. It usually pays off really well.

Italian electoral candidate Silvio Berlusconi asked his fellow countrymen to vote for him so as to “stop leftwing parties opening the country´s borders wide to immigration”. This was the very same Berlusconi that during his three stints as prime minister of Italy pushed his country to the brink of economic disaster. However, on the strength of his electoral arguments he once again managed to win a strong hold in the Italian Parliament. The actual fact that immigrants are leaving recession-ridden Italy in droves did not come into the matter.

Facts usually don´t count for much when immigrants are the subject of discussion.

The Danish public debate every now and then works itself into a frenzy over some immigrant related matter. Recently it was the fact that 45 young boys – born to Muslim parents – allegedly has been fighting in Syria alongside the rebels. Yes, Denmark supports the Syrian rebels over the regime. Yes, some 25 000 Danish boys have fought abroad since 1992 or as the US central command puts it: “…compared to the size of the Danish population (5.5 million), Denmark is among the leading countries in the world when it comes to participation in international operations.”

But facts don´t count for much when faced with the threat of 45 Muslim boys potentially turning back to Denmark, now trained in how to shoot. Politicians from most political parties swiftly promised that if the boys survive and return to Denmark, they will be under constant surveillance by the Danish intelligence services. Xenophobic Danish Folkeparti that has lost ground in the polls lately tried to outdo them all with a promise to deport the boys straight away.

The Dutch enjoy a good blame-the-immigrants-game as well. To go with any article about immigrants – meaning any suspicious-looking-therefore-possibly-Muslim boy – the Dutch press have found the perfect illustration. Article after article on the subject of immigration is accompanied by a photo showing such boys proving their shameful ways by covering their face.
Only this picture, pulled out of the archives, was actually taken when 150 Moroccan youngsters visited the Dutch concentration camp in Westerbork, covering their faces in shock as they listened to a camp survivor telling of his experience.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tried the same trick recently, desperate to have the country talking about something else than how badly the economy is faring and how little the government seems to be able to do about it. He too, came up with the idea to blame immigrants, hoping no doubt to win some votes off the xenophobic UK independence Party. (Number of British expats in the world: approximately 5 Million.)

The trick worked less well for Mr Cameron. When he announced that he would stand up for his country and put a stop to Eastern European immigrants filling up hospital wards without paying, he was contradicted by none other than his own Health minister. The fact, lost in the heat of the moment, is that NHS claims the money back from other EU governments.

It didn´t work too well for the Conservative party running the Swedish government coalition either. The Swedish public debate generally tend to react badly to politicians pointing fingers at immigrants but lately the Swedish xenophobic party has been climbing in opinion polls whereas the Conservative party seems to be losing out. Maybe blame-immigrants has become a vote-winner in Sweden too?

The youngest Conservative in government, also immigration minister, Tobias Billstrom was sent out to test the xenophobic waters, to see if any voters could be pulled in. “It´s not blond and blue eyed people hiding illegal immigrants in this country”, Mr Billstrom stated. The remark may not count as blatantly racist in some European countries but in Sweden it does. The reaction came swiftly and was harsh, the critics were vociferous and influential.
The Conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt held back a couple of days but in the end had to come out and order the immigration minister to apologize, giving him a stern warning about making remarks of the kind and telling him that “he (Mr Billstrom) must stick to the party line of humane immigration policies if he wants to stay in office”.

Oh, well. It´s usually a really clever trick but it doesn´t always work.
Luckily.

CIDDHH Pro Igual es Asociación sin ánimo de lucro registrada en el Ministerio del Interior con el nº 595496.