'SOS Racisme' warns of rising hatred in Catalonia
The NGO against xenophobic discrimination denounces that public expenditure cuts hit immigrants hardest. 'SOS Racisme' also denounces police abuse cases against immigrants and alerts on the raise of extreme-right in some Catalan towns.
Barcelona (ACN).- 'SOS Racisme' has warned that racial hatred is increasing in Catalonia. According to the organization\u2019s annual report a series of events took place in 2010 which \u201Cput social cohesion in danger\u201D. These events include political debates which capitalise on immigration and decisions such as the prohibition in some city councils of the burqa, as well as the rise of extreme-right parties like \u2018Plataforma per Catalunya\u2019 \u2013which still is marginal in the entire Catalonia but quite present in some specific towns. Moreover, 'SOS Racisme' warned that the budget cuts due to the economic crisis affect immigrants the most and that a \u201Cpermissive\u201D atmosphere is noticeable among people on the street. The report also emphasises that 34.5% of the complaints received are due to an abuse of authority or aggression from security forces.
Among these complaints, 42% are reports against the Catalan Police force, the \u2018Mossos d\u2019Esquadra\u2019, which is in charge of security in Catalonia and is the most numerous police; 24% against the \u2018Guàrdia Urbana\u2019 (Barcelona local police force); 10% against the Policía Nacional (the Spanish police); and, 12% against detention centres for foreigners. SOS Racism admits that these data are only a sample, not elaborated scientifically and thus cannot be extrapolated to the whole of Catalonia. The NGO added, however, that they are good enough to show that \u201Cabuses and mistreatment from police agents towards the immigrant population continue to increase\u201D. In this sense, it considers that the decision of the Catalan Government to remove the Catalan Police\u2019s Ethics Code to be a \u201Cstep back\u201D in the defence of human rights.
Rise of the extreme-right
'SOS Racisme' particularly warned of the vote-catching use of immigration and assured that the extreme-right in Catalonia is not easy to identify, since it is a phenomenon which is starting to affect parties with established democratic traditions. The NGO adds that groups which instigate hatred based on the origin, culture, skin colour or religion take advantage of the crisis to promote their policies. SOS Racism considers that the results of \u2018Plataforma per Catalunya\u2019 (PxC), a Catalan extreme-right party, in recent elections show the \u201Cseriousness of the present situation\u201D. PxC got 2.6% of the votes in the last local elections, but in some particular town they were the second or the third party, and got seats in the local councils.
The organisation denounced the \u201Cweakness\u201D of the judicial system when faced with actions by the extreme-right and stated that these cases have increased more than 5% in relation to last year.