Spain turning blind eye to racist attacks, says Amnesty
The report claims that racist attacks are ignored and the victims are invisible.11 April 2008
MADRID - Racist attacks against foreigners in Spain are "ignored" and the victims are "invisible," Amnesty International charged on Thursday in a report.
The report claims to highlight the reluctance of the Spanish government and the country's judicial authorities to deal with racism.
According to the human rights group, more than 4,000 racist attacks occur in Spain each year although the vast majority go unreported, while those that result in complaints to the police - between 90 and 120 by the group's estimates - often fail to lead to convictions.
"Spain has no official registry [of racist crimes] so it is impossible to know the scale of the problem," Esteban Beltrán, the director of Amnesty International in Spain, said. "Unfortunately, attacks of this sort are not isolated incidents."
Beltrán noted that up to 15,000 Spaniards belong to racist organisations, while websites preaching racist violence have proliferated in recent years.
Coinciding with a sharp increase in immigration, Spanish attitudes toward foreigners have also hardened, with opinion polls showing that around a third of the native population are hostile toward immigrants, compared to eight percent in 1997.
About 0.7 percent believes racism to be a problem - a figure that in the view of human rights activists reflects a widespread reluctance by citizens and authorities to address the issue.
[El Pais / Expatica]