Spain accused of failing to act over racism

14th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 April 2005, BRUSSELS-European governments including Spain were accused of complacency and of failing to confront the scale of racist violence after a report said only a handful of nations collected proper information.

14 April 2005

BRUSSELS-European governments including Spain were accused of complacency and of failing to confront the scale of racist violence after a report said only a handful of nations collected proper information.

The British daily The Independent reported that the document also highlighted a surge of attacks on racial minorities and the impact of global events, with Muslims being targeted after 11 September and more anti-Semitic attacks following crises in the Middle East.

The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia said that only six EU countries monitored the scale of violence properly, and demanded a comprehensive system.

Spain only released only limited data for 2001 and Greece, Italy and Portugal have "no official criminal justice date on racist crime/violence".

Most of the 10 countries that joined the EU last year have little record-keeping and in the EU as a whole, "no two countries have data that is strictly comparable," the report said.

Beate Winkler, the centre director, said: "If you are not collecting data, it seems that you do not have a problem. My message to those governments is to give a clear lead, take the problem seriously and face reality".

The report identifies the groups most vulnerable to racist violence as illegal immigrants; Jews; Muslims; North Africans; émigrés from the former Yugoslavia; refugees and asylum-seekers and Roma.

There was clear evidence "that attacks on Muslim communities increased in the months following 11 September" and some victims were wrongly identified as Muslims.

The document adds: "There is also evidence from a number of member states, such as France, Belgium, [the] Netherlands, that attacks on Jewish people and Jewish property have flared up in response to conflicts in the Middle East."

According to the research, the main perpetrators tend to be "young males; members of extremist politically motivated organisations and others not affiliated to such groups."

In Britain - praised for its record keeping - media and NGO reports "indicate some evidence of increased violence directed at people who are or are presumed to be Muslim".

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Subject: Spanish news

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