Tagged: xenophobia

Progress for victims of #hatecrimes in Spain!

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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.

Let´s Say No to Hate!

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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.

On Occasion of #15J, Five Myths and Facts of Immigration in Spain

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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.

European Action Week against Racism and Discrimination 21-28 March

Following a revision of the European Action Days during the European Campaign Conference, the first European Action Week will take place exactly one year after the No Hate Speech Movement, in which Pro Igual participates, has been launched by the Secretary General. The Action Week deals with the underlying themes of the campaign: racism and discrimination which are the fuel for hate speech, or for which hate speech acts as a form of expression.

Aim and Objectives:

  • To promote and request member states to sign the Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention within the Council of Europe,
  • To promote the general recommendations on hate speech of United Nations
  • To develop and run awareness raising activities in the member states targeting both policy makers on the need to take action against racism and discrimination, with a particular focus on hate speech role in fueling and promoting the racist ideologies, to have their public commitment on standing against racism
  • To map and raise awareness over the current situation concerning racism in Europe
  • To raise awareness and educate young people on how to counter racism and discrimination
  • To fight against stereotypes and pre-conceived ideas, as well as to de-construct myths created around the discriminated groups at European level
  • To celebrate one year of the campaign by giving visibility to the results and achievements of the campaign and give an overview and visibility for the plans at European and national levels for 2014.

Planned Actions:

1. The Movement (with the help of its activists) is collecting facts about racism, discrimination in Europe and sharing them in an Online Quiz.

2. The Movement is inviting national campaign committees and their partners to share examples of posters to make people think and challenge the attitudes in relation to racism and discrimination. We are organising a European on-line exhibition of all the collected posters.

3. The Movement is producing testimonies (videos and interviews) with young people about their own story and will share them online to make people reflect and introduce change about discrimination. These will be shared on the Facebook Page of the Movement and here on this website.

4. The Movement is encouraging its activists, partners and national committees to write articles in relation to racism and discrimination (stories, good practices, projects, opinions…etc.). These will be shared on the No Hate Speech Movement Blog during the Action Week.

5. The Movement will distribute an Infographic of the Achievements of the fist year of the campaign.

6. The Movement is inviting all its followers to report online hate speech content related to racism and discrimination on the Hate Speech Watch. The online activists will organise online actions about a number of selected reports.

7. The Movement is preparing (with the help of its activists and national campaign coordinators) an online MAP presenting relevant information about racism and discrimination in Europe.

8. The Movement is also inviting people to create their own image and videos about racism and discrimination to express their views and challenge others and upload it on the No Hate Speech Movement website.

Original link: http://blog.nohatespeechmovement.org/european-action-week-against-racism-and-discrimination/

Pro Igual Continues Surveying Hate Crimes in Spain in 2014

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Pro Igual continues the initiative, launched last year, 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 2014 survey is available in Spanish and English. All responses are strictly confidential. Thank you for your help!

The Rise of the Extreme Right Parties to Power

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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.

 

European Action Day for the Victims of Hate Crimes

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The No Hate Speech Movement, in which Pro Igual participates, invites you to join the online and offline actions to commemorate the European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime on July 22. To remind, support and show solidarity with all those people that have suffered aggression because of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, religion and many other characteristics. We will also educate and raise awareness about the consequences of hate speech and hate crime on our societies!

WHAT TO DO?

1. Organise a public action or an educational activity for 22nd July. Here is a guide of what you can do and how. Please post information to this Facebook event about your action!

Don’t forget to REPORT your action with photos and videos on the No Hate Speech Movement platform: http://www.nohatespeechmovement.org/join-the-movement

2. We are launching a petition to establish 22 July as the European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime. It will be ‘live’ only until 9 November, so get busy helping to achieve this task! The petition addresses all the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the members of the European Parliament! http://blog.nohatespeechmovement.org/petition/

SIGN it! Get your organisation to sign it! Inform others about it!
Write to your representative/s in these European bodies on July 22nd and ask her/him/zee to sign it and support it publicly!
Here’s where you can find their contacts details:
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/AssemblyList/AL_DelegationsList_E.asp
European Parliament: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

3. Do you know of a case of hate crime? It is important not to be silent about it. Submit a story to action@nohatespeechmovement.org and on July 22nd we will feature it on the No Hate Speech Movement Platform. Please make sure to send us photos, if possible.

4. Have you witnessed hate speech that incites violence online? Then report it on Hate Speech Watch here: http://www.nohatespeechmovement.org/hate-speech-watch

5. Take action online! Join this event on Facebook! ‘Like’ the Facebook page of the Movement! Invite your friends to do the same!

Share and post the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nohatespeech?fref=ts

Find out more and participate!
www.nohatespeechmovement.org
www.facebook.com/groups/combatinghatespeech
@nohate_speech #nohatespeech

The Rise of Neo-Nazism in the Party Political System

The recent report by the The World Jewish Congress recorded a disturbing rise in extreme right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic political parties across Europe, echoing with Pro Igual´s own findings of the past years.
The WJC report is available here; the excerpts of the Executive Summary are as follows.
“Parties with neo-Nazi leanings have seen a significant resurgence, particularly in Greece and Hungary where, respectively, Golden Dawn and Jobbik have either achieved double figures in elections or are polling at such levels in opinion surveys. Both have seen their support rise dramatically from small beginnings. …
“There are good reasons for believing that governments are either conflicted or confused in their approach to neo-Nazi parties. In Greece, the government does not appear to know what to do. In Hungary the governing party wants Jobbik’s votes at the next election, and in Germany, where the National Democratic Party does not have wide support but is feared for historical reasons, the government has backed away from outlawing it believing that its efforts would fail at the Constitutional Court.
“Economic crisis is in some cases plainly a contributory factor in the growth of neo-Nazi parties. The Greek economy has declined by 20 percent since the crisis began with general unemployment now standing at over 27 percent and youth unemployment at over 60 percent.
“Anti-Semitism remains a central feature of neo-Nazi parties even though their main focus in many European countries is on non-white minorities. The anti-Semitic rhetoric is often extreme, as when a Jobbik parliamentarian last year called for a list to be drawn up of the country’s Jews in order to assess whether they represented a security risk to Hungary.”
The full report is available here.

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/

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