Press release - 112(2011)

Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on Spain

Strasbourg, 08.02.2011 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on Spain. ECRI’s Chair, Nils Muiznieks, said that, while there are positive developments, some issues of concern remain, such as the continued existence of “ghetto” schools of immigrant and Roma pupils and the absence of data on racist crime or incidents of discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin.

A hate crimes and discrimination service has been established at the Barcelona Prosecution Office. Spain’s specialised body to combat racism and discrimination - the Council for the Promotion of Equal Treatment of All Persons without Discrimination on Grounds of Racial or Ethnic Origin - was set up in 2009 to collect data and assist victims.

The latest plan for Roma development targets social inclusion, non-discrimination and equal treatment. The National Roma Council was set up to advise on policies that affect this community. The Foundation Institute for Roma Culture promotes Roma identity. Successful programmes to eradicate slums and re-locate the inhabitants to standard housing are on-going around the country.

However, there are a high number of neo-Nazi movements in Spain and racism on the Internet is increasing. The authorities should monitor this situation closely and initiate criminal proceedings where necessary. As a result of a Constitutional Court decision, Holocaust denial is no longer a criminal offence.

Despite some improvements in the asylum system, EU nationals are excluded from the right to seek asylum and asylum interviews are of poor quality. Internment centres do not provide adequate access to lawyers and NGOs, and there is a serious shortage of social workers. Unaccompanied minors facing repatriation are not always afforded independent legal representation and age determination methods are outdated and unreliable.

In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations, three of which require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:

    · Collect and publish data on acts of racism and racial discrimination;

    · Include compulsory courses on human rights and non-discrimination in both initial and in-service training for law enforcement officials and judges;

    · Ensure an even distribution of Spanish, immigrant and Roma pupils in schools.

The report, including Government observations, is available here. It was prepared following ECRI’s contact visit to Spain in March 2010 [Press Release – 30.03.2010] and takes account of developments up to June 2010.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, citizenship, religion and language, as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri

Press contacts:
Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28, stefano.valenti@coe.int,
Jaime Rodriguez, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 47 04; jaime.rodriguez@coe.int

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11

pressunit@coe.int

www.coe.int



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