Tagged: justice

Progress for victims of #hatecrimes in Spain!

photo (7)

We are pleased and proud to inform that after over two+ years of relentless advocacy by Pro Igual´s team, the Valencia police signed a formal agreement with the OSCE to start police training on hate crimes within the TACHLE program.

We believe this will be a major step towards practical implementation of rights of victims of #hatecrimes, who overwhelmingly tend to be from the most vulnerable groups: minorities, immigrants, undocumented persons, and so forth.

We also hope this pilot will be replicated across Spain and will continue working towards this goal.

New Guide and Toolkit on How to Use the EU Victims’ Directive

PICUMguide

By November 16, 2015 all EU member states (except Denmark) have to implement the EU Victims’ Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, irrespective of their residence status. PICUM in which Pro Igual participates has published a Guide to the EU Victims’ Directive with resources for members and partners, to inform and to inspire action to advance the rights of undocumented victims of crime. Read more…

Pro Igual commentary on the Spanish draft law implementing the EU Victims´ Directive

AffordableJustice

Over 30 million people fall victim to crime in the EU every year. People who travel or live abroad are potential victims of crimes committed in a country other than their own and need access to justice. This can affect particularly harshly those who find themselves in an irregular administrative situation.

The EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime was adopted on 25 October 2012. It replaces the 2001 Framework Decision and will ensure that victims are recognized and receive proper protection and support. The Directive considerably strengthens the rights of victims and their family members to information, support and protection as well as their procedural rights when participating in criminal proceedings. It also includes provisions that will ensure that professionals are trained on victims’ needs and encourage cooperation between Member States and awareness raising on victims’ rights.

All EU Member States must transpose the Directive into the national law by 15 November 2015. If implemented properly, the Directive could fill the important gap that currently exists with regard to protection of undocumented migrants who become victims of discrimination, hate crimes, and other crimes in the EU. The text of the EU Victims Directive is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/criminal/victims/index_en.htm.

Spain is currently in process of transposing the Directive and the draft law has been made available for public consultations. Pro Igual prepared comments and recommendations on the draft law, available (in Spanish) here. We urge other Spanish civil society organizations working on rights of (undocumented) migrants to join in the effort to ensure justice for all victims, regardless of their administrative situation.

La campaña por el cierre de los CIE realizará el 15J un jornada estatal de protesta

Imprimir

La Campaña Estatal por el Cierre de los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIE), formada por diversas asociaciones y colectivos, está preparando una jornada de protesta para el próximo 15 de junio en todo el Estado con el fin de denunciar y difundir la existencia de este tipo de instalaciones y allanar el camino hacia su cierre definitivo. Se trata del segundo año consecutivo en el que se celebra la jornada. Leer mas…

Decalogue of Principles for Police Training on Combatting Hate Crimes: Victims First!

stophate

Hate crimes against ethnic minorities and undocumented foreigners have been one of the main issues of concern in Spain of the past decade. PRO IGUAL has developed the following set of recommendations to the police on detection and prevention of hate crimes in Spain. It is our hope that these recommendations may also be relevant for other countries facing similar problems as Spain.

1. Set up a hate crimes hotline.

There should be a national FREE hotline for hate crimes victims, similar to the hotline number for victims of gender violence in Spain (016). Alternatively, regional or local hotlines can be considered.

2. Do not ask victims for ID.

Some hate crimes victims are targeted because they are not, or perceived not to be, natives in that country. Some of the victims may be in an irregular administrative situation, punishable by law in Spain. For meaningful protection against hate crimes, it is important that such victims are not penalised even if they do not have appropriate documentation. International best practices of state support for victims of human trafficking may provide inspiration.

3. Have victim info readily available.

Ideally, hate crime victims should be aware of the protection mechanisms even before walking into the police station, via public information campaign. In each police station, there should be a visible poster with steps to take in case of hate-related attack and victim´s rights and/or brochures that victims can take with them.

4. Have a non-uniformed contact point.

The police uniform may have a deterrent effect on the victim. Each police station should have a non-uniformed staff member available to interview the victim and take their testimony, or be ready to have one of the officers to change out of uniform to that end.

5. Speak their language.

Some victims may not be fluent in the language. If there is nobody accompanying the victim or able to translate, it would be desirable to have a list/shared database of interpreters available for this task. If physical presence of the interpreter is impossible, at least telephone translation should be arranged.

6. Cooperate with medics.

Some victims of violent hate crime may not go police but to doctors instead. The local police should establish cooperation with local hospitals and health professionals so that the latter are able to detect hate crimes and are in a position to advise victims about how to report such crimes.

7. Public must know.

It is essential to inform not only victims but also general public, who should be aware about the phenomenon of hate crimes and the methods to report it. General public may be an additional resource for reporting such crimes and assisting the victims. Posters, TV and radio ads, and other publicity material must be developed to appeal to the public.

8. NGOs are partners.

Civil society organisations working in the field of monitoring hate crimes and/or victim assistance are an invaluable resource for the police providing an effective and cost-efficient resource in detecting, prosecuting and preventing hate crimes. Responsible police authorities should make every effort to contact and seek cooperation of such organisations.

9. An ounce of prevention.

Prevention of hate crimes by researching and targeting potential perpetrators can save many human and material resources entailed in subsequent prosecuting of hate crimes, repairing material damages and caring for victims. Some of the police resources currently used for preventing terrorism and/or ordinary crime (and often misused for racial profiling) should be re-directed for detecting and preventing hate crimes, specifically by conducting reconnaissance among known extremist right-wing and other hate groups.

10. Reach out to other hate crime victims.

When all the essential steps are taken to assist the victim of the case in hand, invite them to share support information with others, who may be in a similar distress but afraid to report hate crimes. Similarly to the electronic reporting mechanism for other crimes, the online resource for reporting hate crimes should be established and publicised.

The Treatment of Migrant Women in the Spanish Detention Centers for Foreigners

Pro Igual´s Intervention at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Working Session 3: Violence Against Women

The following are the summary and recommendations of the joint report by Spanish NGOs Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino on the situation of migrant women in Spanish Detention Centers for Foreigners. The full report is available here.

Detention Centers for Foreigners are prisons in all but a name. Both governmental institutions and civil society have decried the appalling conditions and violations of human rights there. What is important to note is that detainees have not committed any crime, but merely an administrative infraction of not having papers in order, which presents less danger for the public than incorrect parking.

While both men and women face violations of their human rights, female detainees face a number of specific concerns. These include: sexual harassment by the guards; ill-treatment of pregnant and breastfeeding women; separation of mothers from minor children; lack of access to general medical and gynecological care, and lack of adequate nutrition even for pregnant women. Victims of human trafficking get no support whatsoever, even though they may be eligible for residence on humanitarian grounds.

Many migrant women end up in detention centers because of police raids based on the controversial practice of ethnic profiling, condemned by a number of international human rights bodies.

On the basis of these findings, we would like to recommend to the Spanish authorities the following:

  • Human rights NGOs and monitors should be allowed to enter detention centers and privately interview inmates – this is often sabotaged by the centers´ directors.
  • All personnel of the detention centers must wear visible identification badges and face sanctions for failure to comply.
  • All allegations of ill-treatment, especially sexual abuse of female inmates, by the guards must be investigated and prosecuted.
  • All inmates should have access to independent legal counsel, and translation if necessary.
  • The authorities should declare a temporary moratorium on expulsions of migrant women, pending the review of their cases.
  • Women detainees in particular should have gender-sensitive healthcare and adequate nutrition.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should under no circumstances be detained or separated from their children and families.
  • Suspected victims of human trafficking should receive necessary legal, medical and other assistance.
  • The authorities should decisively end ethnic profiling practices by the police.

The Rise of the Extreme Right Parties to Power

Pro Igual

Pro Igual´s Intervention at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Working Session 2: Tolerance and Nondiscrimination

In the course of 2012 and 2013, PRO IGUAL conducted monitoring of hate crimes committed by Spanish extreme right elements against immigrants, minorities, and other vulnerable groups. The aim of the project has been, besides documenting individual cases, to explore the origins, specifics and the reach of the extreme right.

The project highlighted certain weaknesses in the Spanish legal and policy frameworks. Spanish legislation, on the one hand, allows proliferation of parties and organizations propagating intolerance. But on the other hand, it fails to provide adequate recourse for victims. In addition, victims often either do not know how to complain or are afraid. This serves to create a climate of denial and impunity for hate crimes.

PRO IGUAL reports and other materials on the subject are available on the website. In the meantime, we would like to make the following conclusions and recommendations relevant for a number of countries in the OSCE region.

Recommendations:

  • The Governments must recognize the reality and the danger of the extreme right ascent to power, and not dismiss the right-wing extremism as fringe behavior of a handful of marginalized youths.
  • It is also important to recognize that the extreme right has received a Public Relations makeover. We are no longer dealing with just crude manifestations, such as shaven heads or military boots. The contemporary extreme right is an increasingly sophisticated and insidious ideology that masks hate as care and violence as freedom, and actively uses democratic means to attain undemocratic ends.
  • Appeasement does not work. Some of the mainstream parties tried to woo the extreme right voters by embracing xenophobia. But they will never be radical enough for the extreme rights, but will instead lose their core supporters alongside with integrity.
  • Economic crisis and corruption must be addressed urgently, as they feed into the extreme right´s popularity. Ineptitude in handling the economic crisis, lack of transparency and seemingly endemic corruption turn the mainstream, moderate voters away from the established parties into the grip of the extreme right.
  • Laws must protect the victims of right-wing extremism, not provide loopholes and excuses for perpetrators.
  • It is not enough to be reactive; it is essential to become pro-active. This means the alarm must be raised BEFORE the extreme right ascend to power. Otherwise, with each new victory of the extreme right, there will be fewer countries even left to condemn it.
  • Last but not least, the Governments should work treat civil society as an ally, and not as a nuisance, as presently civil society is the only force resisting the rise of the extreme right to power.

 

60th anniversary of entry into force of European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights, signed in Rome on 1 November 1950, entered into force on 3 September 1953. Today we celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Interesting facts

  • Thanks to the Convention and the supranational court it established, human rights have for the first time in history gained precedence over national laws and practices.
  • The Convention was originally signed by 12 countries and its entry into force was triggered by the 10th ratification, which was deposited by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • Convention contains 59 Articles and was amended or supplemented by 14 Protocols.
  • Since 1953, over half a million human rights complaints have been brought under the Convention and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has delivered c. 16,500 judgments.

Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino present a communication to the UN Commision on Women

FERROCARRIL

Within the framework of our work on the rights of (undocumented) migrants in Spain, Pro Igual has cooperated with Ferrocarril Clandestino and presented a joint communication to the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the Human Rights Violations of Migrant Women in Spain: Detention in CIEs.

The communication draws the UN Comission´s attention to singling out of migrant women through ethnic profiling and disproportionate use of deprivation of liberty for migrant women for mere administrative infractions, such as not having paperwork in order. Migrant women in CIEs suffer a range of human rights abuses, ranging from absent due process or legal counsel, to discrimination and sexual harassment, to separation from families and small children and lack of healthcare even for pregnant women.

Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino put forth recommendations to the Spanish authorities to remedy this situation.

The text of the submission is available here.

What to do if you are a victim of discrimination in Spain?

discrimination

Have you ever been discriminated in Spain? If so, do you know what to do in order to defend yourself?

Pro Igual´s Anti-Discrimination Crisis Cards might help. They are available in Spanish, English and Romanian.

Watch this space for updates and do not hesitate writing to us with questions or for help: infoATproigual.org

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