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'2003 Annual report on racism in the Spanish state', by SOS Racismo
01 May 2004
The Federation of SOS Racismo associations in the Spanish state has published the 9th Annual Report on Racism in the Spanish State. Based on their activity in information and reporting offices for race-related incidents, and through scrutiny of cases reported in the press, they elaborate a report which is divided into thematic chapters, with analysis, as well as in-depth treatment of individual cases that illustrate the problems in these specific fields, which include the attempts at "sealing" frontiers, the criminalisation of migrants as a result of the Ley de extranjería (the Spanish immigration law), the longstanding discrimination against the Roma community, police harassment, labour exploitation, Islamophobia and educational segregation, among others. The authors feel that the report illustrates how racism is becoming established in the Spanish state, something that "calls out for a massive and urgent social reaction".
The report is available from: c/Bou de St. Pere, 3, Barcelona. www.sosracisme.org/sosracisme
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2004 ON RACISM IN THE SPANISH STATE
(translation from the presentation of the report, original by SOS Racismo below in Spanish)
The level that is reached by racism in a society is a general indicator of its democratic quality and of its degree of respect for liberties. Racism is not an isolated fact which has its own independent logic, but rather a crude reflection of the society within which it develops. The year 2003, examined in this Report, displays an alarming lack of democratic quality and a strong violation of rights and liberties. In the nine years during which SOS Racismo has been producing its annual Report, we had never observed such a serious expression of racism, in all its dimensions.
In the year 2003, we have seen how politics has a dangerous trend towards becoming limited to security, both at a worldwide level and in state context, whereby in the name of this supposed security rights and liberties are curtailed with increasing impunity. The most vulnerable collectives, including migrants and the Roma, are those who most apparently suffer the consequences of this regression. This affects the whole of society, because it is rights and liberties in general that are threatened. If rights in general are undervalued, the rights of immigrants are experiencing a clear-out sale. When this happens, it is the foundations of the democratic state, a state governed by law and a social state, that are seriously threatened.
Apart from the seriousness of the changes in the Ley de extranjería (the Spanish immigration law), one must add other legal reforms like the reform of the Código Penal (Criminal Code) and the approval of the "Ley de medidas en materia de violencia doméstica, inseguridad ciudadana e integración social de los inmigrantes" (Law on measures in the fields of domestic violence, public insecurity and the social integration of migrants). This hardening of the specific legislation applicable to foreign citizens consolidates a legal framework that is elaborated with xenophobic arguments as a starting point, and creates new spaces of legal apartheid that deny the right for the equal treatment of people by the law.
As a direct consequence of the legislation and immigration policies, this year the figure of 1,000,000 migrants in an illegal situation has been reached. The law forces people to enter illegally, obliging foreigners to turn to 'mafias', and afterwards, it does not offer routes for obtaining regularisation. The Government's immigration policy encourages illegal immigration with the purpose of providing a collective of labour that is cheap, tame and lacking rights for the submerged economy. The fact that there are 1,000,000 people who live and work and are deprived of any rights is a shame, and in flagrant contradiction with the principles of the democratic system.
2003 has been a year of local and reg