NEW REPORT FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
SPAIN: TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS
THE EU MUST ACT ON RACISM ACROSS EUROPE
As Amnesty International launched a major report today on race-related torture and ill-treatment of minorities and immigrants in Spain, the organization’s EU Office in Brussels called on the European Union, and in particular the Spanish EU Presidency, to step up efforts to combat racial discrimination and abuse throughout Europe.
In the 100-page report, Amnesty International documentation an increase in cases of race-related torture and ill-treatment by state agents in Spain between 1995 and 2002. It covers 320 cases involving people from 17 countries, including Morocco, Colombia and Nigeria.
They include women immigrants without documentation who have been particularly vulnerable to torture in the form of rape or sexual abuse while in custody, and unaccompanied children who have in many cases been ill-treated, and removed from Spanish territory without adequate legal protection and care.
“This report highlights how engrained racial discrimination can be in Europe, not only against the Roma community, but also and equally disturbingly how modern-day immigrants can be victimized on a large scale”, said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office. “It must therefore be seen as a wake-up call to the EU to take its own principles and regulations more seriously”.
The report comes at a time of highly-charged debate and renewed tensions across the EU, especially in those countries where elections are due, over reduction in the numbers of asylum seekers and immigrants.
Amnesty International points out that the EU already has a range of strong and unambiguous provisions against racism, ranging from the 1999 Tampere conclusions, in which the European Council inter alia called for the fight against racism and xenophobia to be stepped up, and for action plans to be implemented, to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and European Community law.
Amnesty International calls on the EU to consider its own responsibility under Article 13 of the TEC to “take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin (… )”, to ensure that torture and ill-treatment stop and are effectively prevented and that state agents enjoy no impunity for acts of torture or ill-treatment.
“Spain can be regarded as an example to all of how easy it is for state agents to resort to racist behaviour if there is no rigorous and sustained action by government to uphold standards”, said Dick Oosting. “As current EU president, Spain not only has a special responsibility, but also the opportunity to set a unique example”.
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
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