report on racism and intolerance
On 8 February
2011, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
(ECRI, a Council of Europe body) published its fourth report
on Spain covering the situation in the country in this field
until 23 June 2010.
The report's assessment on developments is largely positive in
relation to efforts by the Spanish authorities to comply with
a number of recommendations issued in previous reports for the
purpose of erradicating racism and discrimination, particularly
in areas such as sports, lodgings and development projects for
the gipsy community, the integration of migrants and combating
racial violence and criminal offences.
Nonetheless, a number of areas for criticism remain, including
the lack of data on instances of racism and discrimination, the
lack of independence of bodies such as the Council for equal
treatment and non-discrimination of people on the basis of racial
or ethnic origins, the uneven distribution of migrants and gipsy
children in schools that are termed "ghettoes", the
existence of contradictory guidelines concerning racial profiling
and the absence of a commission to investigate allegations of
offences by police officers.
Other limits concern legislation that was introduced recently,
including the foreigners' law reform that may lead to "discriminatory
restrictions" by limiting access to housing aid in equal
conditions to Spanish national for "long-term foreign residents",
access to higher education to foreigners residing lawfully, the
scant opportunities for the Muslim community to build mosques
and for their children to have religious teaching based on Islam
(although the introduction of a lay "education for citizenship"
course is welcomed in the report).
The ECRI report notes that the asylum law reform may be discriminatory
in that EU nationals are stripped of the possibility of applying
for refugee status (limited to non-EU nationals and stateless
people), fast-track asylum proceedings mean that their quality,
particularly when it comes to interviews, has diminished, and
other shortcomings that are highlighted include a lack of social
workers in detention centres or a lack of independent legal counsel
for unaccompanied minors during repatriation proceedings.
Informe sobre España", 8 February 2011
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