PICUM Statement on COVID-19 and Migrants in Europe

Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migration in which Pro Igual partcipates has issued a statement on COVID-19 pandemic: “We need urgent measures to protect people and mend the cracks in our health, social protection and migration systems.” Read the [...]


On Occasion of the International Day of Elimination of VAW

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls is celebrated worldwide on November 25 (UN (Resolution 54/134). On occasion of this day, let us remember the names of the female victims of domestic violence in Spain. [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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


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


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.

FRA brief: Crimes Motivated by Hatred and Prejudice in the EU

The March 2013 brief by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides information about the situation on the ground in the EU as well as suggestions for the way in which the EU and its Member States could better address crimes motivated by hatred and prejudice.

Spain Supreme Court Strikes down City Burqa Ban


[JURIST] The Spanish Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday struck down [judgement, PDF, in Spanish; press release, in Spanish] a city ban on wearing veils over the face in municipal buildings, finding that the law infringes on religious freedom. The city of Lleida, in Catalonia, was the first Spanish city to impose such a ban, but only about 3 percent of its population is Muslim. The city law was previously upheld [JURIST report] by a Spanish appeals court which found that the law was permissible for identification and security purposes. In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that the city of Lleida had not adequately established that the ban on veils would improve security and that the law prevented individuals from practicing religious traditions.

Burqas and other symbols of Islam have been a controversial subject in Europe. In July the Netherlands announced that a ban on burqas would go forward [JURIST report] later this year. Proponents of the Netherlands ban said the purpose was to stop people from being able to commit crimes and remain undetected by concealing their identities and covering their faces. Belgium officially banned [JURIST report] burqas in July 2011. France’s ban on burqas took effect [JURIST report] in April 2011. Swiss voters approved a proposal to ban the construction of minarets [JURIST report] in November 2009, and the vote was subsequently upheld [JURIST report] in the European Court of Human Rights [official website] in July 2011. Some commentators have suggested that the rationales behind the European burqa bans are weak [JURIST op-ed] and that the true purpose of the bills is societal discomfort.

Spain´s Shame: CIEs, Prisons for Migrants


Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIEs) are detention centers for migrants in an irregular administrative situation. While in detention, inmates are frequently subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. Numerous civil society organizations and activists uncovered and documented systematic and gross violations of inmates´ most fundamental human rights. CIEs have become a true shame of modern Spain.


Pro Igual materials

Hunger strike of CIE inmates in Barcelona: Will the Government reverse its anti-immigrant policies?

Time to close prisons for migrants

Can a democratic state´s institution be responsible for encouraging hate crimes?


Official documents

Boletín Oficial de Estado por el que se aprueba el cierre del Centro de Internamiento de Málaga. Enero 2013.

Mapa de Centros de internamiento de Extranjeros. Migreurope. Diciembre 2012.

Trabajo Fin de Grado de Trabajo Social. “Los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros” Un anacronismo en la sociedad actual. Silvia Martinez Ruiz. Julio 2012.

Anteproyecto de Real Decreto por el que se aprueba el Reglamento de funcionamiento y régimen interior de los Centros de Estancia Controlada de Extranjeros. Mayo 2012.

Acuerdo de los juzgados de Vigilancia del CIE de Madrid . Sobre la obligación de informar a los/as internos/as del momento y lugar de los vuelos, así como la posibilidad de organizar su regreso. Febrero 2012.

Auto Juzgado nº6 en funciones de control jurisdiccional del CIE de Madrid. Sobre condiciones y servicio médico. Diciembre 2011.

Acuerdo Jueces sobre acceso al baño en el CIE. Noviembre 2011.

Perfiles Raciales y Control de La migración en España Elaborado por Amnistía Internacional. Contiene un pequeño apartado sobre CIEs. 2011.

Acuerdos de readmisión firmados por españa con distintos países. Listado realizado por Migreurope. Actualizado Diciembre 2011.

Dictamen presentado ante el Comité para la Eliminación de la Discriminacion Racial sobre los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros por la Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos. febrero 2011.

Estancia Regular: ¿Multa o Expulsión?. Elaborada por ICAM y pueblos unidos.2011.

Directiva de Retorno de La Unión Europea. Para conocer cambios respecto al internamiento en Europa (18 meses, etc. )2008:

La vida en la frontera. Internamiento y expulsiones. Capítulo del libro Frontera Sur. 2008.

ORDEN de 22 de febrero de 1999 sobre normas de funcionamiento y régimen interior de los centros de internamiento de extranjeros. Orden Ministerial con la que se crean y regulan los CIEs. 1999.


Other useful resources

Cárceles racistas blog es una iniciativa de SOS Racismo Madrid, Comisión CIE de Ferrocarril Clandestino y Masticable y tiene como principal objetivo recoger los testimonios de personas que han pasado por los CIEs así como de sus familiares y amistades.

¿Cuál es el delito? Informe de la Campaña por el cierre de los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros: Caso Zapadores. Campaña por el cierre de los CIE. Marzo 2013.

Atrapados tras las rejas: Informe CIEs 2012. Centro Pueblos Unidos. Abril 2013

Informe 2012, un año en el CIE de Algeciras APDHA. Diciembre 2012

La protección de los derechos de las personas migrantes en Europa: España. Organizaciones de Migreurop en España para la comisión de derechos humanos del consejo de Europa. Noviembre 2012.

Mujeres en los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIE) Realidades entre rejas. Women´s link worldwide. Mayo 2012

Observaciones al documento de trabajo previo al antreproyecto de Real Decreto para el Reglamento de funcionamiento y regulación interna de los CIE. Redactado conjunto de varias organizaciones que vienen trabajando en los CIE sobre cuestiones concernientes al anteproyecto de reglamento. Abril 2012.

Mirada tras las rejas. Informe de Pueblos Unidos sobre el CIE de Aluche. Diciembre 2011.

CIE, Derechos Vulnerados‘ . Informe de Migreurop basado en visitas realizadas por organizaciones pertenecientes a esta red a cuatro centros de internamiento ubicados en territorio del Estado Español. Diciembre 2011.

Informe sobre derechos y libertades de las personas Internadas en los centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros. Comissió d’Estrangeria Il·lustre Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona. Septiembre 2011.

La autorización judicial de internamiento de extranjeros. Injusticias. Ferrocarril Clandestino. Enero 2011.

100 ventanas a 5000 vidas truncadas. Informe de Pueblos Unidos sobre el CIE de Aluche. Información obtenida a través del trabajo de visitas que esta organización realiza en el CIE de Aluche. 2010.

Para quien quiera oir. Voces desde y contra el CIE de Aluche: Informe sobre el Centro de Internamiento de Aluche basado en testimonios de personas internas y familias. Realizado por Ferrocarril Clandestino, SOS racismo y Médicos del mundo. 2009.

Situación de los Centros de Internamiento para extranjeros en España, Conversaciones junto al Muro. Informe en el que se analiza la situación de los Centros de Madrid, Málaga y Valencia a través de visitas a los mismos y entrevistas tanto a internos como a personal. Realizado porla Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado en el marco del estudio europeo DEVAS. 2009.

Análisis del Régimen Jurídico del Internamiento de Extranjeros. Para que el Derecho no se detenga a la puerta de los CIE. Este grupo trabaja en los límites entre la extranjería y el sistema penal. El informe analiza desde un punto de vista meramente jurídico y en profundidad la situación del internamiento. Realizado por el grupo Inmigrapenal. 2009.

El Internamiento de Extranjeros. Propuestas y razones para su modificación. Son posibles enmiendas al articulado del proyecto de ley de extranjería, realizado antes de su modificación. Enfoque jurídico realizado por Inmigrapenal. 2009.

Centros de Retención e internamiento en España. Información contenida en menos de 20 páginas que da una visión general de este tipo de centros en España. Asociación pro derechos humanos de Andalucía (APDHA). 2008.

Informe del defensor del pueblo en el que hace referencia a los centros de internamiento.2008.

Centros de Internamiento. Cárceles encubiertas. visión general, y especial mención al CIE de Málaga.2008.

Informe parlamento europeo sobre la situación de los Centros de Internamiento en 25 países de Europa. 2007. Idioma inglés.

Pro Igual Submission towards the OSCE Hate Crimes Report 2012


The 2013 Pro Igual submission for the OSCE Annual Report on Hate Crimes highlights the deficient Spanish legislative framework regulating political parties whose goals and activities contravene democratic values of the Spanish Constitution. As a result, political parties which openly propagate xenophobia and intolerance are allowed to exist and operate, gain adepts and even attain legislative seats.

As in previous years, Pro Igual calls to attention of the national authorities and international monitoring bodies that hate crimes are not isolated incidents and do not take place in a vacuum. Activities of the legally permitted extreme right parties in Spain are one of the strongest factors contributing to a fertile climate for xenophobic hate crimes. It should come as no surprise that the hate crimes committed by adherents of extreme right and neo-Nazi ideology are becoming ever more brazen and premeditated.

Notwithstanding some steps taken by the Spanish State to address hate crimes, even despite the simultaneous decrease of net immigrant population, the number of such crimes in Spain does not diminish but continues to steadily rise.

The Pro Igual Report is available here.

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