Thousands of hate crime cases based on factors such as religion, immigration status and racial background occur in Spain each year according to a report released today.
The study from the Movement Against Intolerance (MCI, in Spanish initials) nongovernment organization concluded that at least 4000 hate crimes occur yearly in Spain. Nevertheless, the group believes that the number of hate crimes could be much more since only 4% of all cases are conveyed to authorities.
The report has identified at least eighty hate-related homicides since 1991 and that racist groups exist in all of the country’s autonomous communities. Furthermore, the MCI identified the existence of over 1500 “xenophobic” Spanish websites and more than 10,000 neo-Nazis and skinheads in the country. Additionally, there has been an apparent growth in “protests of intolerance” in Spain such as four events occurring last April celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
In one case by the MCI highlighted last month that educational officials are investigating the death of a fifteen-year-old girl of Ecuadorian background living near Madrid who committed suicide allegedly after enduring heavy bullying from her classmates.
“The other students would make her stand on the school bus even if there was an empty seat, and some of them would block her path if she wanted to use the restroom at the school ” claimed the girl’s father.
Among the recommendations made by the MCI are the prohibition of concerts and other public events promoting hatred and intolerance, greater monitoring of websites used to promote xenophobia and stronger punishments against racist sports fans.
Another suggestion made in the report is that the State should provide greater assistance to purported hate crime victims who don’t have the same protections as victims of acts of terrorism or gender-based violence:
“The victim generally feels alone, confused…and impotent over not preventing being attacked or not being able to change his/her ethnicity, skin color, sexuality, etc. The feeling of anger, fear, anxiety and helplessness takes its toll not only on the victim but also his/her his family and communty.”Earlier this year, a U.N. report called on Spanish authorities to be more active in combating discrimination against immigrants that had gotten more widespread as a result of the country’s major financial crisis. The study criticized police officers that racially profile immigrants, denounced the process of detailing undocumented migrants and bemoaned the cutting of social services like the excluding of undocumented migrants from Spain’s public health care system. The latter was relevant in the case of María Concepción Amaya Guzmán; a Honduran immigrant who underwent a difficult cranial surgery in Valencia but was briefly removed from the hospital after her immigration status was discovered.
A May 2012 survey concluded that immigrants integrate themselves better in Spain compared to other European countries like France and Italy. Since then, however, thousands of immigrants from Latin American countries such as Peru have returned from Spain mainly due to the heavy economic downturn that continues to hurt that country.
Video Source– YouTube via user ibreredplus (This video was uploaded in 2010 and described the apparent hate crime murder of a Ecuadorian migrant at a suburb of Barcelona.)
Online Sources – RPP; LaPrensa.hn; diariodenavarra.es; elplural.com; elmundo.es; Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia