Amnesty urges Spain to fight racism

21st March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Amnesty International Saturday called on the Spanish government to ban what it said was the use by police of racial criteria in deciding identity checks.

MADRID - As part of the World Day Against Racism, the human rights group's Spanish section called for an end to "any orders or instructions" that exist establishing quotas for the detention of illegal immigrants by police stations.

It said such practices are "criminalising immigrants just for being what they are."

Any government measures to fight racial discrimination in past years have been "insufficient," Amnesty said.

The Amnesty appeal comes after some 200 unions and immigrant associations on Tuesday filed a complaint against Spain's interior ministry for what they say has been a rise in police operations targeting undocumented foreigners.

Spanish media reported last month that Madrid police officers are complaining they are under pressure from their superiors to arrest a "quota" of illegal immigrants every week.

Spain's Socialist government has denied that such quotas exist. But after granting an amnesty for over 500,000 illegal immigrants in 2005, it began tightening entry rules for immigrants last year as the economy cooled.

The number of immigrants in Spain shot up from 500,000 people in 1996 to 5.2 million currently, mainly from Latin America, eastern Europe and north Africa, out of a total population of 46 million.

AFP / Expatica

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